‘It Follows’ is a quintessential example of what dating in the 21st century can and sometimes does feel like. This horror movie takes the concept of sexually transmitted disease and then attaches an evil, slow moving, vengeful entity to it; who’s only goal is to kill you. Much like the vast amount of STD’s that run through our society being transferred by brief hot moments of ecstasy, the entity in “It Follows’ begins to slowly deconstruct any idea of a normal life from the moment of contraction. This film has an interesting way of presenting the intensity within the group being followed and those watching from the outside. The moments we are presented characters opinions on the events taking place are sometimes laughable and always insightful.
The film opens with an introduction of our inner circle of characters. Their dynamic is nothing special; they interact as a normal midwestern American group of friends. One of the most interesting characters is ‘Yara’ played by Olivia Luccardi who in this opening scene is shown reading ‘The Idiot’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky. A little research into the novel provides some insight into why it was mentioned 3 times in the film, and what the director was trying to say by including it.
‘The Idiot’ is about a prince who is seen as an idiot because of his simplistic and easy going nature amidst tragedy and complex situations. Much like our inner circle of characters, they too can be perceived as “idiots”. They are, by midwestern American standards, pretty normal and are being faced with a complex situation unlike their daily lives. This pack of “idiots” is followed throughout their journey of not only trying to escape the entity to buy time but also to decide whether or not Jay will transfer It to someone else.
The lead character, Jamie or Jay for short, is one of the few victims in this movie who is told about what she is given. The boy giving her this special gift, Hugh, offers a seemingly simple solution: have sex with someone else and hope they pass it along so It doesn’t come back to her. Throughout, Jay struggles with the idea of knowingly condemning someone to this fate despite the many boys around her who offer to help ease her suffering. Drawing eerie parallels to how contracting an STD can twist your life upside down. While Jay has friends who are trying to help with this problem that they themselves cannot see, one must wonder how isolating this type of problem could be for someone who is not as lucky.
In the sweetest monologue ever presented after spontaneous car sex, Jay talks about how she used to wish to be older. To be able to go on dates and drive around with friends. With no set destination, she seemed to only long for the moment of being free. It is ironic and quite twisted when you understand that this thing has given Jay her dream only it is devoid of freedom. She is given a nightmare that in order to escape she must condemn another to her fate. ‘It Follows’ offers a peek into the frightening world of being a sexually active adult in today's times. While events like the AID crisis are not far from present day, contraction of such diseases are not always a death sentence but ‘It Follows’ presents that feeling of a monster trying to destroy you for giving into one of humanity's most primal pleasures.