Author Topic: It Follows  (Read 9007 times)

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modage

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2015, 04:31:06 PM »
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the crucial distinction for me is this: does the story hold up without the references?
Yes.

There were many moments in It Follows where I felt the filmmaker's desire to make a reference steered the story in illogical and arbitrary directions. For example, the Cat People-quoting swimming pool set piece... forgive me if I missed something, but what the hell was supposed to be the plan exactly, and why were they shooting a gun at the "Follower" when they already knew from a previous scene it didn't kill it/them??
I've seen "Cat People" but this went right over my head, I was thinking of the pool-set finale of "Let The Right One In" but you could also go to "The Faculty" for a school pool set-finale so I think these references may be a little bit in the eye of the beholder and highly doubt even if they were looking to nod to that film they would steer the entire finale of their film in that direction just to shoehorn in an 80 year old film reference. As far as their plan, yeah they hoped to get it in the water so they could electrocute it. That's why they had all the shit outside of the water. They didn't count on the thing picking up the shit and throwing it in there first as they hadn't seen anything so far to indicate it would start to use tools or props, had they?

As for the characters: in addition to such illogical behavior, they all shared the same nonchalant, inscrutable attitude toward this terrifying situation, and were otherwise indistinguishable by anything but wardrobe. One character, for instance, is a girl who wears funky glasses and reads Dostoyevsky at us from a  "shell" phone... But take away those quirky props, and I could not tell you one thing about her. What are her actual character traits? How is she different from the others? Who knows.
I think they all seemed pretty freaked out about the situation, didn't they? I thought all their behavior seemed to fit within the context of this dreamy & stylized world. Nothing seemed out of character. And yeah, I mean I felt that Maika Monroe's character was the most fleshed out and the rest of them use a certain shorthand but all their interactions together as kids seemed authentic and true to their ages and the world of the film. I'm not sure the other characters in "Halloween" besides Laurie were the most fleshed out either but that doesn't really hurt the film for me.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

piscesvirgorising

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2015, 05:03:33 PM »
+2
Cat People reference was apparent to me, and confirmed explicitly by the director in this interview (see around 3 minute mark) -

I don't know why they thought electrocuting a ghost that was impervious to bullets would work... Where that idea came from? The thing could break windows and doors, why could it not throw things?

The kids seemed inconsistently freaked out... Like sometimes they were, sometimes they weren't really... At one point Maika runs away from the house and goes straight for the spooky playground swing set, where she seems to instantly forget her worries... Later she falls asleep alone on top of the hood of a car parked in the middle of a road in the woods (??) ... Yes, all of this is consistent within a dreamy, stylized world, but not in the real world or even a non stylized movie world... I think that's my qualm in a nutshell. I don't ask that all characters be fleshed out, I just expect them to each bring something unique and essential to the story... Otherwise, why are they there?

Tictacbk

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2015, 05:37:54 PM »
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I don't know why they thought electrocuting a ghost that was impervious to bullets would work... Where that idea came from? The thing could break windows and doors, why could it not throw things?

The idea came from Paul.  He assumed there had to be a way to hurt it because he was able to hit it with a chair.  You're not wrong, it's not a great idea, and that's why it blew up in their faces.  What'd you expect from a bunch of kids fighting some supernatural being they know nothing about?

piscesvirgorising

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2015, 05:54:52 PM »
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Good recall - thx tictacbk

03

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2015, 02:32:31 AM »
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excellent film.

polkablues

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2015, 12:58:08 AM »
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With any luck I'll be seeing this tomorrow, and then I can finally put this debate to rest once and for all.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

polkablues

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2015, 07:05:04 PM »
+3
Okay, I went in expecting great things, and it exceeded all those expectations. The film is rich, deep, impeccably-crafted, and extraordinarily effective. Normally, when I read someone's negative reaction to a film, I can see their points, understand where they're coming from even if I don't agree with them, but in the case of It Follows, I read a negative review and all I can think is, "What the hell are you talking about?"

The film is a masterpiece of tone, to start. The languid rhythms of the editing, the long deep-focus shots of slowly approaching horror. Jump scares don't scare me, gore and violence don't shock me, but I respond to dread. It hangs thick over this entire movie like a wool blanket smothering you. Dread is the currency of this film, and it spends freely.

I'm also baffled by comments about the characters behaving unrealistically, or illogically. This is the rare horror film that allows neither the characters nor the audience any special insight into the nature of the threat, beyond what they piece together through their own experience. So yeah, they try things that seem like bad ideas in hindsight, but that's because they, much like us if this were happening in real life, are making this shit up as they go along. They carry out their bad ideas because the alternative is to give up, to sit down and wait it out. And if we learn anything from the opening sequence of the film, that's a much worse idea than anything these characters come up with themselves.

Speaking of the characters themselves, sure, there's not a ton of development to them, besides Jay and to some degree Paul, but so what? Those characters are not the focus of the film; they matter in relation to the protagonist, not in and of themselves. And the social dynamics of that group of characters is so perfectly, relatably drawn. There's never an instant of the "why would these characters be friends with each other?" feeling you get in almost any film featuring a group of friends. These people have complex patterns of relationship and history that can be inferred with the barest minimum of exposition. To me, there were no false notes here.

Then we get to the meat of any good film: theme and metaphor. Upon coming up with the central concept of the film, it would have been the easiest thing in the world for David Robert Mitchell to plaster simplistic moralizing over it. Slasher films have been doing it for decades: you fuck, you die. Thank god he's not that lazy, and has deeper sensibilities than that. Because the themes he finds in the premise are infinitely more compelling. The primary one being: sex complicates relationships.

At its basest level, It Follows is the story of a girl who was unable to escape her home town after high school, and finds her sexual prospects limited by that circumstance. And within those limited prospects, each relationship has a different potential to backfire. There's the guy who's not from her hometown, who represents the exciting world outside her limited perspective, but who turns out, after she's had sex with him, to not be the person she thought he was. There's the guy she had fun with back in high school, who represents the stuck-in-the-small-town loser she herself is afraid of becoming. The stakes seem low enough, because there's no real connection, no deeper emotional commitment, and for a few days, it seems like everything worked out fine. But ultimately, his own cavalier attitude, which made him seem like the safe option in the first place, leads to hurt.

And then, of course, there's Paul. Poor naive Paul. The ultimate case of unbalanced affection. Jay likes the guy. She cares about him. But she doesn't like him and care about him the way that he does her, and this makes choosing him as a sexual option positively toxic. His destruction is inevitable. But Jay reaches the point where she is beaten down too far, and his persistence is too psychologically reassuring, and she fucking does it anyway. The movie mercifully ends before we have to witness the aftermath of this decision, but it's also merciless enough to make it crystal clear that the aftermath is going to happen, likely sooner than later. This is not a rose-colored lens, "Love Conquers All" movie ending. This is real goddamn life and people get hurt when you make poor emotional decisions.

This is such a good movie. This is everything that I look to get out of cinema. It kills me to see people not like it.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

jenkins

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2015, 07:56:28 PM »
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such a lovely review hinged on a sturdy perspective. me, i'm bad with people being used as symbols, the process reminds me of the writer but not the character. also, movies about needing to walk away from a person are tricky to me, including mommy. i don't admire the perspective of "you should obviously have given up on this person a long time ago." though, happy to hear your reaction indeed, since you ended a review of it follows with "This is real goddamn life" and that's adorable, and that's how i love the things i love as well
Every perspective is an act of creation.

piscesvirgorising

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2015, 06:34:41 AM »
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Polkablues, glad you liked the movie, but no need to be baffled by a differing opinion. And for God sakes, don't let it kill you to see others not like it. Take solace in the fact that you stand with the majority (see rotten tomatoes score) in thinking this movie is some kind of masterpiece. Time will tell.

I predict it's another Garden State or Drive... a movie embraced by the multitudes for its stylishness and "tone" but quickly disregarded once it goes out of mode.

samsong

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2015, 01:02:27 AM »
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this movie was fucking garbage.  also the sister is way hotter.

polkablues

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2015, 04:05:43 AM »
+2
Well, I'm convinced.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

samsong

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2015, 07:32:33 AM »
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the wild inconsistencies in the way "it" is used in the film, which ultimately is indicative of narrative laziness, dismantle any attempt to make sense of this movie being more than a really boring genre pastiche.  it's such a smug Metaphor (intentional capitalization) that i'm glad it amounts to nothing.  polka, the movie you describe would be great, but it completely omits the major construct of the narrative that makes it NOTHING like real life, and yet it's such a major motivating factor for the characters that not addressing it is like talking about a completely different movie.  i guess it could just come down to willingness to suspend disbelief in this story, but i feel like when you set ground rules, even if it's from an unreliable source (and then there's the question of how does he know all this shit... further and further down the rabbit hole of bullshit), it really needs to be more thought out that simply having a line where a character says "it can be ANYTHING!!!" and just running amok from there.  as it stands, it's just a random device that's implemented whenever the director wants shit to start getting scary. 

also that this is passing for excellent craft makes me sad.  have standards been lowered to the point where something like this is going to be lauded as exceptionally made?  it isn't amateur hour but i hardly find anything about the film's craft worth celebrating.


modage

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2015, 08:44:38 AM »
+1
ALL SPOILERS

I don't know why they thought electrocuting a ghost that was impervious to bullets would work... Where that idea came from? The thing could break windows and doors, why could it not throw things?

Director addresses this in a Vulture interview.

Talk to me about our heroes' final plan to kill the monster in the pool. I was rooting for them, but I also felt like it was sort of naÔve to think that plan would work, given how little they really know about the monster.
DRM: Itís the stupidest plan ever! [Laughs.] It's a kid-movie plan, itís something that Scooby-Doo and the gang might think of, and that was sort of the point. What would you do if you were confronted by a monster and found yourself trapped within a nightmare? Ultimately, you have to resort to some way of fighting it thatís accessible to you in the physical world, and thatís not really going to cut it. We kind of avoid any kind of traditional setup for that sequence, because in more traditional horror films, there might be a clue that would lead them to figure out a way to destroy this monster. I intentionally avoided placing those. Instead, they do their best to accomplish something, and we witness its failure. Itís probably a very non-conventional way of approaching the third-act confrontation, but we thought it was a fun way to deal with it.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2015, 05:59:02 PM »
+3
*Spoilers*

It's an alright film. Some points of disagreement with the general applause, but anyways....

First, it's not scary. I'm sorry, but horror needs to retire the plot structure of focusing of one heroine who will likely survive until the end or near it. She's the protagonist and focal center, yes, but she's also the guarantee every threat against her will go by the wayside and be unsuccessful until the film gets into third act territory. Even then, probability says she survives past the end credit sequence. Crazy, but a concept of killing a heroine early in 1960 with Pscyho still stands up as novel. The people who actually die in the film were entirely predictable.

I think to get scarier the film would have been better to narrow the vision of the film. I was fascinated by the boyfriend who initially gave her the curse. When the lead girl was researching who he was, she saw his apartment and how much he changed his life to adapt to new circumstances of something always on the hunt for him. He completely destroyed his life to prepare for what his reality had become. I think if the film focused solely on one character slowly becoming accustomed and changing and not wanting to tell anyone because of public perception (likely what the bf did), I think you get closer to a narrative track that overwhelms the viewer with a claustrophobic fear. The film could play more with atmosphere, music and a momentum building up to personal insanity. Instead It Follows is about a girl in fear with a host of family and friends. The other characters have plot points onto themselves and the focus gets shuffled around more. After a little while, there became a standardization of the girl relaying personal issues, a few other scenes with other characters, and then frightening chase scenes. It didn't take long for a recycling effect to happen with order playing out.

I kept thinking about films that did better to create claustrophobia by narrowing the focus, but I think It Follows more just wanted to be a well done typical 1970s-type horror film. it does that and it does better than most films today. Especially with the music and composition sequences, but I don't think it's that great of a film. Cabin in the Woods is nonsensical at its core but more inventive and well done. People want to make the comparison and it's not there, but Cabin in the Woods (for what it was) is much more refreshing in what it does.

jenkins

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Re: It Follows
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2015, 06:42:10 PM »
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biggest hit xixax has had in a long while, so that's interesting
Every perspective is an act of creation.

 

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