Saturday, November 14, 2015

"It Follows" (2014) d/ David Robert Mitchell

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Next up, we'll close out another Friday the 13th by covering a recent indie horror flick of much critical acclaim, made in the home of my sports-heart, Michigan, and built on an original premise with significantly powerful potential, perhaps a parable of these sexually promiscuous times, and the inevitable std's that sometimes follow such carnal recklessness. Add to that an evocatively muted frame in the tradition of cult classics like Carpenter's Halloween (1978), and a genuine creepiness at certain points very reminiscent of genre films made during that period. There's even a touch of gore, albeit an exclusive peppering, if that. Young actress/ kiteboarder extraordinaire, Maika Monroe looks good, while acceptably purveying a sense of impending dread enough to merit a "scream queen" tag, for sure. What could go wrong with all those factors in it's favor, you ask? Well, that's a pretty good question, but one I'm willing to answer for you, right here...

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Wilt Chamberlain's satisfied customer number twenty thousand and one.
At the outset, we watch a scantily clad young lady tearfully fleeing her house and calling her father, only to end up dead n' twisted on the beach by morning. Shit happens. Enter Jay (Maika Monroe), a Michigan college student dealing with a pushy date named Hugh (Jake Weary) who's paranoid about something or other, and after they rock an old school backseat fuck, he chloroforms her (!), and she groggily awakes, tied to an office chair in her drawers, and now, allegedly relentlessly pursued by "It", which can take the form of total strangers or loved ones in it's tireless goal of twisting you into a deceased love-pretzel. Hugh was it's previous target, but he was able to pass it on to Jay, and spare himself the agonizing death, in the process. Nice guy, this Hugh, who then disappears at the sight of a naked woman, clearly, It's latest disguise. After spotting It a few times in different gross guises, and enlisting her sister, Kelly (Lili Sepe) and friends, Paul (Keir Gilchrist), resident awkward spaz,  her womanizing neighbor, Greg (Daniel Zavotto), and Yara (Olivia Luccardi), in locating Jeff Redmond (Hugh's real name), and getting the whole story from him about what she now faces.

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This pool needs Chloe Sevigny and the dude in the bunny ears. 
At Greg's lakehouse Jay learns how to fire a gun, but It makes the scene before too long, causing her to wreck Greg's car in cornfield, and breaking her arm, in the process. At the hospital, Greg volunteers to take on the curse himself, and porks Jay in her hospital bed, much to Paul's dismay. Days pass before It takes the form of Greg himself, as it breaks into his house, takes the form of his own half-dressed mother, and rapes him to death. What a way to go. Paul still can't get laid. In the end they lure It to an abandoned-yet-awfully-clean-somehow public pool, and try to electrocute it with plugged in electrical devices.It takes the form of Jay's father, and tries to brain her in the dome by chucking the devices at her in the pool. Paul, unable to see It, manages to shoot Yara while trying to hit it with bullets, as it pulls Jay underwater. Is this the end for her or will she cheat death to live another day? See for yourselves.

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Insert your own backseat/backdoor joke here, you're on your own.
In the year of 2015, I'm afraid I'll have to be the bearer of bad tidings in being the one to report that invisible isn't scary. It simply isn't. I'd be willing to bet that people weren't all that frightened by it in 1933, either. Barbara Hershey's invisibly-pawed hams in The Entity (1982), excluded. And when the invisible premise gives rise to an utterly scareless, yet laugh-packed finale in the public pool, you have to think you've failed on some level, or at least, that's how I see it. Unless you're Michigan-born genre lord, Sam Raimi, who's always been a master of mixing scares with laughs, in my estimation. The horror of sick-looking folk approaching slowly from the background, was also well-covered for years, by George Romero, I think. People attend horror movies to be horrified by the sight of something horrible, or at least, the promise of something horrifying to come. At the end of this one, I just walked away expecting slightly more than I got. Still, you should check it out, just the same, and show support for Michigan-based indie filmmakers. I'm sure we'll see more out of them in the future, and I look forward to it. Two Wops.

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It's nice to see Martha rehabbing that surgically reconstructed hip. It was never the same after the "tragic sock hop of '52 ".
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