The curse of being followed by demons is sexually transmitted. After having sex with her boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary) who is followed by demons, Joy (Maike Monroe) is in turn pursued. She can only pass it on by having sex and she does. This has tragic consequences, the demons brutally attack their victims. If the latest carrier dies then the curse returns to the previous carrier.
This comes across as a parable about sex, death, and moral consequences as if written by Jose Saramago. There is no soft blue light at night time but there are other regular features of horror films: teens engaged in one- upmanship, the lonely nerd who tries to impress the girl, the curiously absent or useless parents, high school confrontations. This has been touted as different from the pack of horror films but it’s a familiar mixture of horror films we know well. It’s like Nightmare on Elm Street and any number of zombie and vampire movies. Originality is stretched thinly around the bare framework of the story, all Kafka on amphetamines. The demons are slow walking oddities and this makes them scarier, they are ill dressed but implacable in their pursuit of victims. The sheer ineluctability of the chase is the hobgoblin here, you don’t wake up from the nightmare. There is a confrontation with Joy’s demon in the swimming pool, the violence becomes desperate in the urge to make the unseen seen. It Follows is like a throwback to David Lynch’s view of the sinister threat lurking under the Stepford anality of prissy surburbia. There is a sinister focus on natural scenes that might suddenly erupt in a threat, feeding teen paranoia. It shows a love of retro that does not refer to a specific era: there are corded telephones, awful black and white sci-fi on TV, a picture palace cinema. It Follows moves in the right direction towards better horror, but there is still a long walk ahead.