I consider Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior to be one of my all-time favourite films. A powerhouse sequel to a solid action film, it went on to become George Miller’s most recognisable work. Its unique story, setting and capacity for visual flair and literal high-octane action were totally unmatched… that is, perhaps, until now.
I went into Unfriended after watching It Follows (my review for which can be read here) the week prior expecting absolute trash. What I ended up with was something that was better than I expected, but not as bad as I hoped. It’s a pretty short movie – less than 90 minutes – out of necessity. If it were longer, it would have overstayed its welcome. The plot revolves around a cast of characters in a Skype chat haunted by an evil spirit that forces them to confess their sins. If that sounds like your kind of shindig, then you’re probably a millennial.
As the title says, I think of this as this century’s The Blair Witch Project, except perhaps not matching in quality or originality. It does try to do something somewhat unique, and I will commend it for that. It’s essentially an evolution of the found footage genre, perfectly tailored for this generation.
I had the chance to catch a showing of It Follows on the silver screen yesterday, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. The best way I could describe It Follows is a three-way mash-up of Halloween, The Thing and Night of the Living Dead. Take the stoic menace of Michael Myers, add the clever evil of The Thing and top it off with the creeping death of George Romero’s ghouls and you have the terrifying threat from It Follows.
What makes the film really stand out to me is its simplicity. It has a simple albeit effective premise. The protagonist, Jay, has been cursed by a relentless entity that will constantly pursue her. The catch: it moves at a walking pace. You can already see the similarities between the creature of It Follows and the shambling undead hordes of various zombie fiction. The difference here is that this creature, whilst also moving at a plodding pace, is bound to her completely, and can be seen by her alone.
For an indie film, there could be no more perfect basis. There’s no real need for excessive amounts of special effects. The threat is established within minutes and we know the mechanics of it perfectly be the end of the first act. The entity – not unlike Samara from The Ring – will follow you at a walking pace until you pass it on to someone else. But even then, you aren’t entirely free, either. Should that person die, it continues back down the line, meaning that even if you pass it along, you’ve only delayed the inevitable for a little while. It can and will come back.
With this basic premise, David Robert Mitchell has plenty of room to craft a dreadfully brilliant horror experience.