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"You're not going to believe me. But I need you to remember what I'm saying. Okay? This thing...it's going to follow you. Somebody gave it to me, and I passed it to you, back in the car. It could look like someone you know, or it could be a stranger in a crowd. Whatever helps it to get close to you. It could look like anyone...but there is only one of it. And sometimes...sometimes I think it looks like people you love. Just to hurt you. [...] You get rid of it, okay? Just sleep with someone as soon as you can. Just pass it along. If it kills you, it'll come after me. Do you understand?"
Hugh

It Follows is a 2015 supernatural horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. It debuted at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival in May before receiving both limited and wide releases the following March.

The film follows Jay Height (Maika Monroe), a 19-year-old student living in the suburbs of Detroit. After a sexual encounter, she becomes stalked by a nameless entity. The film then becomes an exercise in existential dread: no matter how far Jay runs, she must face the mounting dread of its slow but relentless approach, and the fact that she will never be totally safe, even if she passes it on.

It Follows is notable for the audiovisual influence it takes (to retraux levels) from horror films of The '70s and '80s, with Mitchell specifically citing George Romero and John Carpenter as inspirations. He got the idea for the film from a recurring dream that he had as a child about being followed, later incorporating the idea of sexual transmission.


It Follows contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Implied, but not outright stated in the case of Jay and Kelly's father.
  • Adults Are Useless: All of the main characters are in their late teens/early twenties and live with their parents, who are barely present and are oblivious to the situation. Kelly and Jay's mom is implied to be an alcoholic, although some scenes do show that she cares for her girls (or at least, Jay). Her father is implied to be an Abusive Parent, if the Final Battle is any indication. Greg's relationship with his mom is indifferent at best. Even Anne, at the very beginning, doesn't enlist her father's help; she spares him, at the very least, third degree burns.
  • Agent Scully: While all characters are initially skeptical of Jay's experiences and Jeff/Hugh's explanations, Greg remains completely unconvinced of the paranormal activity unfolding. It doesn't help that he's the only member of the group who didn't witness the confrontation on the beach, which proved It existed to the others.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Jay and Kelly's mother is implied to be one, based on the minimal glimpses we see of her. At one point, she pours a bottle of booze into a mug during the morning.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The final shot of the film is of Paul and Jay walking down the street together...with a figure in the distance following them at a slow, even pace. Is this figure "It", having recovered from being shot in the head and following its victims once more, or just some random bystander that coincidentally happens to be walking in the same direction as them? There's enough ambiguity to take it either way. The writer of the film, however, has confirmed that "It" is almost certainly not dead.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The time period is left subtly vague and undefined. Yara has an e-reader, and modern cars are seen, but only one person has a cellphone (not a smartphone either), the televisions are all tube screens, the characters watch exclusively old movies even at the cinema, there's no mention of the Internet, and the main characters drive cars from the '70s and '80s. It also extends to the soundtrack made up of 80's-style synth sounds.
  • Ankle Drag: In the pool, "It" drags Jay by her ankle back underwater.
  • Auto Erotica: Jay and Jeff/Hugh's sex.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Jay gets a cast on her arm, a few scrapes on her elbows and a bandage on her eyebrow, but otherwise remains perfectly attractive through her trials.
  • Betty and Veronica: Paul appears to be the "Betty" to Hugh's "Veronica", but when he establishes just how dangerous he is, it turns out that Paul is actually the Betty to Greg's Veronica. Not that Greg survives the movie, bringing any particular love triangle to a harsh end.
  • Big Bad: The nameless, speechless, unknowable "it." No motive, no back story, no nothing. The only thing known is that if you have the curse, it will walk towards you eternally until it catches you or you pass it on. The total lack of explanation of course adds to the creep factor.
  • Body Horror: The almost bizarrely calm shot of Annie's corpse at the beginning, with her leg snapped backwards over her head.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The only thing that seems to affect "It" is shooting it in the head, which causes it to collapse on two occasions. In the finale, the results are more ambiguous.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: A non-video-game example. The swimming pool during the climax is a rare example of the heroes falling victim to this, as It Can Think and immediately figures out that it's wandering into an obvious trap.
  • Cat Scare: A few of these are included to keep the audience guessing. One is the red rubber ball that hits Jay's bedroom window.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: When "it" grabs Jay by the hair at the beach, Paul retaliates by attacking the invisible force before him with a folded beach chair. He then painfully learns just how strong "it" really is.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Greg shows an appreciation for the female form, ogling each of the three main female characters and having several female admirers at various points in the film. But he drops everything (including one of those attractive females) to help Jay with her whole "stalked by invisible monster" problem, and all-in-all comes off as quite the stand-up guy.
  • Close on Title: The Title happens only after the film is over. Especially because that's the last thing we see someone doing to Jay and Paul.
  • Combat Pragmatist: While it is implied to prefer raping victims to death, in the climax, It cannot reach Jay directly without risking electrocution, and so it settles for trying to electrocute her in her own trap.
  • Convenient Photograph: Hugh aka Jeff just happens to leave a photograph in a porn magazine that shows him with Annie (who the audience may recognize as the opening victim, explaining how she got cursed and explaining how Hugh learned that "It" upon killing Its latest target resumes hunting the previous target). The part important to Jay and her friends is that Jeff happens to be wearing a letterman jacket in the photograph, allowing them to track him down from the school's information.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: "It" is fairly eldritch, having no set physical form and no known motivations. Most of all, you can never destroy or even defeat "it". You can either die to the entity (in which case it will set its sights on one of its previous targets again), or you can only delay it by dooming someone else and hope that it does not come back to you. It is heavily implied that the protagonists are about to suffer a horrific death.
  • Creepy Child: The form "It" takes when Jay and friends are in the cabin at the beach, as it climbs through the hole in the door. Also, if you look closely, this form is of the young voyeuristic neighbour who is seen spying on Jay a few times.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Little is revealed about Jay's past, but what is known is that she did not have a happy childhood, and it is implied that she did not have a healthy relationship with her family, especially her father.
  • The Determinator: "It" is utterly relentless. It is slow, and physically impeded by material barriers like locked doors, but It never stops walking and will break into a room if knocking doesn't work. Notably, if a victim secures themselves in a locked room or creates a trap or obstacle between them, It will not wait or retreat, but adjust its plans as if unable to stop chasing It's prey.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jay's father appears to not be in her life. It's implied through dialogue about her past and through the monster's choice to take his form as it throws household items at her in the pool scene that this is because he was abusive.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: It is implied that Paul plans to pass the curse on to a streetwalker. Whether or not he does so is left ambiguous.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tons, upon tons...
    • Clamshell mobile device = birth control
    • Gregís death = Oedipus
    • The pool trap = suicide via bathtub and electrical appliance
    • The pool filling with Itís blood = the relief of a period following unprotected sex
    • Itís partially naked form = slut shaming / rape victim
    • The garage scene where Itís giant form smashes a hole in the door, followed by It changing into a child and crawling through the hole = pregnancy by rape
    • It is invisible to anyone not affected by the curse = bystanders having difficulties relating to the victimís experiences.
    • The first time It assumes its giant form. Right before Jay closes her bedroom door, It is in its half naked form, which while creepy, doesnít seem like an impossible adversary... cue the short feeling of relief as Jayís friends enter the room, followed by a giant stranger who is significantly more imposing. It's like the visual representation of a potential victim putting a barrier between themselves and an attacker, and the attacker is able to physically defeat the barrier.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Paul waits around for Jay's relationships with more aggressive guys to run their course. It works. What that means for either one of them is still unclear at the end.
  • Door Handle Scare: When It invades Jay's home and the kids hole up in Jay's room, the camera focuses on the door handle of her room as it starts to move. However, the person seeking entrance is Yara.
  • Downer Beginning: The film starts off with Its previous victim running for her life before turning up dead.
  • Downer Ending: Possibly. Greg is dead, Yara is injured and according to the film's writer, It is still alive despite all the teens efforts to stop it. The last shot of the film is Jay and Paul walking hand in hand while farther away, another person walks behind them.
  • Drone of Dread: The musical score plays a huge part in this movie.
  • Easily Forgiven: Jeff/Hugh. If nothing else, the main characters could have easily had him locked up for intentionally passing the curse onto Jay, chloroforming and kidnapping her, which would have effectively been a death sentence for him if anything happened to her. Instead, they rather casually talk to him on his lawn with Greg being the only one to show him any animosity (and even that is because Greg is convinced Hugh is making everything up to torment Jay). While it could be argued that his actions are sensible because he's being stalked by a murderous abomination — and it served to warn Jay about "Its" existence and how she could pass it on so that she'd have a chance at survival, which is probably more than Jay or Paul did for any of the hapless people that they implicitly passed the curse onto to buy themselves time — the extreme violence of Hugh abducting Jay and chloroforming her is horrific.
  • Electrified Bathtub: The protagonists try doing this with an entire swimming pool at the end in order to kill It. Their plan fails, partly because It sees the trap coming and turns the tables on Jay, and partly because electrifying an entire swimming pool to the point of killing somebody requires far more electricity than the grid could handle, causing it to short out.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Done to excellently creepy effect when Yara, one of Jay's friends, knocks on Jay's bedroom door after Jay realizes It is in the house and barricades herself in her room. Once the door is opened, all seems well because only Yara is standing there, until behind her out of the shadows, It, in the form of a tall man with no eyes looms into the room.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Paul shoots It in the pool, causing Jay to see a gigantic cloud of blood permeate the pool. Whether It has been destroyed is unclear. Jay and Paul have sex, and in the final scene, they walk down a sidewalk with a person far down the road following them. Whether it's It or not is left ambiguous.
  • Eye Scream: When It appears as the tall man, its eyes appear as though someone's attempted to gouge them out.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • It often takes the forms of naked or partially naked men or women, but they're never a pleasant sight.
    • While none of the sex scenes in this film are played for Fanservice, the second one, in which Jay and Greg have sex, is uncomfortable to watch because Jay is only doing it to pass It onto Greg, essentially giving him a death sentence. She looks anguished during the act. Not to mention, they're doing it in a hospital bed, which is pretty unappealing by itself and Jay has been in the hospital for quite some time and is terrified that It will appear at any time.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • While playing "trade," Jeff/Hugh chooses a child to trade places with, explaining that he'd like to "start fresh." Of course, this is because he's infected by "It."
    • Another early scene features several characters playing Old Maid on the porch. It's a game in which there is only a loser, not a winner, and everyone's only choice is to try to pass the losing condition off onto someone else. Also, the form that "It" takes to menace Jay at school is, indeed, an "old maid" - that is, a creepy-looking old lady.
    • While explaining "It" to Jay, Hugh states that "It's very slow, but it's not dumb." The gang's plan to kill "It" hinges on the entity walking blindly into a pool in pursuit of Jay, ignoring the electrical devices they have set up around the perimeter. It's not fooled for a second, and immediately starts hurling said devices into the water with her.
    • Hugh explains that "It" can look like anybody, whether it's a complete stranger, somebody you know, or even a loved one; whatever lets "It" get close enough to its victims. When "It" kills Greg, "It" has taken the form of his mother.
  • For the Evulz: When Jeff/Hugh is first explaining the nature of "It" to Jay, he speculates that the entity sometimes appears as someone its target knows or loves, just to hurt them. This later seems to be the case, as "It" appears to Jay as her (implied to be abusive) father, the peeping tom child, either one of her grandparents, and Yara.
  • Fright Beside Them: More from the audience's perspective than that of the characters. Jay is relaxing with her friends at the beach, enjoying some time away from being stalked by "It". Yara approaches her from behind as she chats with the others. After a few moments, we see that Yara is in fact relaxing in an inflatable tube in the water and has been for some time, which means that the "Yara" walking up behind Jay...
  • Full-Frontal Assault: "It" often appears in the nude, partially or otherwise, as part of its creepily sexualized theme, particularly the first time we as the audience actually see it, wherein it is entirely nude.
  • Genre Savvy: Word of God states that Yara is the only character that's well aware that she's in a horror movie, but she's too apathetic to care.
  • Genre Throwback: The whole movie is based on the Sex Signals Death and Ominous Walk trope of the Slasher Movie genre. The films' debut poster invokes the "80s horror movie" brilliantly.
  • Good Bad Girl: Jay is a sweet and wholesome "girl next door" type who dresses fairly conservatively and doesn't come across as particularly flirtatious, but she is implied through dialogue to have an active sex life, even prior to the curse.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Paul is not approving of Jay's affection towards Greg.
  • Homage:
    • The film's Stepford Suburbia aesthetic and synth-heavy soundtrack feel like a homage to Halloween (1978). The scene in which 'It' comes after Jay as she looks out of the window of the classroom at her school is very similar to the scene in which Laurie looks out of the classroom window and sees Michael Myers staring at her. There's also the use of old movies on the television, which was a memorable feature of Halloween. It also pays homage to the invincible killer like Michael Myers who hates sex, although It is literally supernatural and passed along via sex.
    • The scene where It, in the guise of Greg's mother, rapes Greg to death is filmed the same way as Calder's possession by the two women in Prince of Darkness (though, there, it's a Kiss of Death).
    • The angle of Jay getting dressed in her pink dress for her date, looking at herself in the mirror and putting makeup on, calls back to Carrie (1976), when Carrie is getting ready for the prom.
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
      • A nightmarish scene where Jay flees out of class and runs into a couple of girls who can't see It (an old woman) is a shout out to a scene in the film where Nancy also runs out of class and sees Freddy in the corridor in the guise of someone else and her murdered friend in a body bag. So is the scene where Jay runs across the street to try and save her dark-haired hookup who's unaware in his bedroom that It is coming for him, reminiscent of Nancy running around the neighborhood to try and save Glen as Freddy goes for him in his bedroom.
      • Greg's death, which mirrors Glen's death (note the names). Nancy tries to call Glen, who lives down the street, only to realize that he's fallen asleep, so she runs over to try and save him. Jay lives across the street from Greg and notices It breaking into his house. She runs over there to try and save him, but is also too late.
    • The rest is also a Pastiche of Sole Survivor, which shares a lot of the same scenes (such as a scene of an old person in a hospital gown walking up to Denise/Jay) with an intention of killing her, and the constantly walking antagonist.
  • Horror Hates a Rulebreaker: Effectively turns this trope into a metaphor for an STD. Having sex with someone carrying the curse passes it on, causing a malicious spirit (taking the form of a random bystander, and only visible to anyone cursed) to relentlessly stroll towards you, killing you if it catches up and moving back to stalking whoever passed it on. The only solution is to keep moving, or pass it on and hope for the best.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Nobody explains what It is, what It wants (other than to kill), or from where It comes. We only know that Its targeting reticule passes via sex and that It will follow you to the ends of the Earth until It catches you or you have sex. It also has the ability to shapeshift, and can only be seen by those who are 'cursed'.
  • Humanshifting: One of Its powers. "It" even seems to have some forms it favors for utility purposes, like turning into a tall male form when it needs to break down doors, or a Creepy Child when it needs to get through small passageways.
  • Implacable Man: You cannot stop It. You can barely slow It down. It knows where you are and will find you.
  • Inescapable Horror: Even if you pass "It" along, "It" can always come back. If "It" succeeds in killing someone, "It" goes back to following "Its" previous target. Those who pass on the curse will live looking over their shoulder, always terrified that the creature has worked "Its" way back to them.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Yara tells Kelly that Jay is so attractive that it's obnoxious. Kelly agrees.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The Movie. Notable examples include Its near-constant nakedness, Greg getting raped to death, Annie being in her underwear and possibly also violently raped to death (causing her leg to be cracked off), and Hugh chloroforming Jay right after they have sex, aside from the premise itself.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: "It" always knows where its targets are, it can't be seen by anyone except its future victims, and nothing can stop its pursuit: sooner or later, it always catches up. The only way to escape is to have sex with someone and spread the curse to them, or spend the rest of your life on the run.
  • Invisible to Normals: "It" can't be seen by people who haven't been cursed. "It" has a physical presence, however, and can be made visible by doing stuff like throwing a piece of cloth over "It". In one scene, Jay's friends even notice "It" before she does, as "It" makes its presence known by lifting Jay's hair before attacking her.
  • It Can Think: Jeff/Hugh warns Jay early on never to enter a room with only a single exit, given "It" is "slow, but not dumb." "It" seems to be mindlessly driven to a victim and pays little attention to who or what is in the way. But when "It" walks back into the neighborhood looking to kill Greg, it takes the form of Greg himself so that Jay, watching from the window for any sign of "It", doesn't realize "It" isn't Greg until "It's" at his door and therefore can't alert Greg quickly enough. During the pool scene, it seems that "It" knows a trap has been set and tries to kill Jay through the very means meant to kill "It".
  • Jealous Romantic Witness: Paul is established to have a longstanding crush on Jay, and we often watch through his eyes as Jay and Greg gravitate towards each other.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Masterfully subverted. After seemingly spotting It in her house, Jay runs upstairs in terror and locks herself in her room. When her friends plead with her to let her in, she eventually opens the door and...it's them, not the monster. While comforting her, they suddenly hear a knock on the door, and grab things to defend themselves before opening the door, and...there's still no monster there. It's just Yara, another one of Jay's friends, and as Yara asks what's wrong, with no warning or Scare Chord whatsoever, a seven-foot tall eyeless monster of a man calmly walks towards her in the dead center of the frame straight out of the shadows behind Yara .
    • Played straight at a few other times, though, like the ball that hits Jay's window when she's recovering from being kidnapped by Hugh, and the sudden cut from Annie on the beach to her mutilated corpse.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Jeff/Hugh deliberately passed this on to Jay, putting her in mortal danger and by extension causing the death of Greg. He gets no comeuppance beyond spending the rest of his life in Its line of murder.
    • Jay herself, if she really did have sex with those guys she saw at the beach. Since "It" is following her again soon afterwards, she probably didn't even inform the one she passed "It" onto, as they must have died rather quickly.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • "It" seems to like scaring the shit out of its victims, in one scene even pulling Jay's hair just to scare her before moving in for the kill. Jeff theorizes that it takes the form of loved ones just to hurt its victims more.
    • Hugh (a.k.a. Jeff) doesn't just pass It onto Jay. He passes it onto her, chloroforms her, abducts her, ties her up and forces her to look at It. While some of this may be justifiable due to circumstances, it's unnecessarily violent.
  • Leitmotif: It could be argued that "It" has one. When "It" attacks there is a repeated, discordant and violent melody which sounds like a mix of the Jaws theme and the infamous screechy glissandos from Psycho, evoking the feeling of being relentlessly pursued by a monster. The leitmotif is introduced in "Heels" (played at the start of the film while Angela, the girl in red heels, is being stalked), but it also appears in "Old Maid" (played when "It" shows up at Jay's school), and "Father" (played when "It" takes the form of Jay's father, who is implied to have abused her).
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: When they investigate the house Jeff/Hugh was holed up in, they split up.
  • Light Is Not Good: Whenever "It" is personally seen "It"'s either in the nude or wearing undergarments or sleepwear that is colored heavily white, which adds to the unearthly appearance. "It" apparently can show up in clothing other than this as well as early on it's hinted that "It" was a woman in a yellow dress Jeff/Hugh could see but Jay couldn't. This is what also lends some ambiguity to the ending when a figure can be seen following Jay and Paul, as he's clearly wearing casual clothing including jeans and a black jacket, but also a white shirt very similar to the color of clothing "It" is usually seen in.
  • Male Gaze: Greg admires Yara as she examines some shelves, and the camera lingers on Yara's bare legs.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Jeff/Hugh tells Jay that she should have no trouble passing the curse along, because she's a girl (so presumably any guy will want to have sex with her whenever she wants). It's also played straight, as Greg is willing to sleep with Jay to protect her, and Paul immediately offers to take It from her.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • There are a number of scenes of "It" slowly walking toward its victim, who is obliviously looking away.
    • There is also a case of Meaningful Background Noise at the very beginning. We hear the door to Annie's house open twice while she's walking away, but we only see her father outside.
  • Mighty Glacier: "It" is the culmination of the trope. A Humanoid Abomination that cannot or will not move faster than walking pace, but if it catches you... see the picture in the Nightmare Fuel section for a glimpse of the fate that awaits you.
  • Monochrome Casting: Aside from a few background characters, everyone is white, even the various forms It takes. Justified, as it's explicitly set in the suburbs of Detroit - which, due to de facto segregation, are indeed mostly white.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • After Jay and Jeff/Hugh have sex, Jay lies on her stomach in the back of the car, smiling contentedly and talking about her young fantasies of what her romantic life would be like. Then Hugh joins her and seems to start cuddling up to her... then he suddenly chloroforms her.
    • Immediately after Jay has an extremely close encounter with the entity in her own home, there's a bit of comic relief as we see some of her neighbors watching in confusion as she dives out the window and makes her escape down the street on a child's bicycle.
  • Motifs:
    • Water. Annie prepares for death at the beach. Jay is shown in her above-ground pool several times. The gang escapes to a lakeside cabin for a time. Jay swims out to meet some men on a motorboat. The climax takes place in an Olympic pool.
    • Fingers and toes. There are numerous insert shots of Jay's fingers fiddling childishly with things. She also spends most of the film barefoot, with a number of shots showing her toes. "It" also appears barefoot most of the time.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: Justified. It kills its victims by raping them extremely violently.
  • Neverending Terror: The titular "It" is an Implacable Man Eldritch Abomination that, oddly enough, can't move faster than regular walking speed... the scary part is that it never stops, it always knows where its victims are, and it can go through any obstacle by smarts, shapeshifting or sheer brute strength alone. Anyone who becomes Its target must keep moving, as fast as they can, and never stop.
  • Nothing Good Ever Happens In A Parking Garage: Jay's first encounter with "It" takes place in an abandoned, decaying garage.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The film slowly ratchets up its tension levels via carefully-timed scene placement, so that by the midway point, a genuine uncertainty and dread has latched onto all the participating characters.
    • We are told nothing about where "It" came from or what "It" is beyond immediate practical knowledge.
    • The pool scene near the end, where Jay refuses to say where "It" is as she and her friends panic more and more.
    • The opening scene where Annie, having given up, drives away to a beach and waits for "It" to arrive and kill her. She speaks to her father over the phone and tells him she loves him, and then the music begins to slowly grow in intensity as Annie notices something in the distance. When we are finally shown her point of view we are treated to a shot of...nothing.
  • Old Flame: Neighbor Greg seems to be on friendly terms with the sisters and first name basis with Paul and Yara, but he is not part of the initial group that hangs out with Jay. We later learn that he and Jay had shared a fling in high school, and despite growing apart since clearly still have trust and attraction for each other.
  • Ominous Walk: "It" walks slowly, but never stops until "It" catches you. This is one of the key ways to identify if "It" is around.
  • The Oner:
    • Some shots go on for a long time, usually the panning shots. In fact, the very first shot after the opening titles is one of these, starting with a pan across the street to Annie's house, and ending when Annie drives off. Later, there is a slow pan around a school corridor when Jay and Greg try to track down Jeff/Hugh and you can see - though the camera shows it no favour - "It" walking off of the campus pavement toward the door of the hallway bearing the school records room in which Jay and friends are doing research.
    • Most notable is when Jay runs from the beachhouse and gets in the car, driving off - it's one shot from inside the car, all the way down the drive and off the road to her accident.
  • Our Slashers Are Different: Teens are being stalked by an invisible, seemingly invincible killer only visible to them and which eventually mercilessly kills them. The movie adds two major supernatural changes to the Teen Slasher formula with a heavy dose of Sex Equals Death: it's a curse of unknown origin passed through sexual intercourse and it only targets teenagers who've been exposed to the curse.
  • Parental Incest: "It" kills Greg while taking the form of his mother. Remember that "It" kills people by having sex with them. Yuck.
  • The Peeping Tom: Near the beginning, two young boys are spying on Jay as she has a dip in her pool (her reaction indicates this isn't the first time this has happened). One of the boys is later seen trying to peer into Jay's bathroom while she's in her underwear. "It" later takes the form of this boy as it climbs through the hole in the shed door later on.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Yara. It's the only use of her character in the film. She cracks a fart joke, knocks over some stuff at the abandoned house and is playfully in the water while everyone else mopes on the beach - but her character could be completely written out of the the film and the plot would barely change.
  • Police Are Useless: Justified. Early in the film, someone asks Jay if they ought to inform the police. She declines because she's not certain if "It" is real or imagined by her because of Hugh; later, "It" reveals itself as Nigh-Invulnerable, completely caustic and/or lethal upon contact, and physically unstoppable, validating her original decision.
  • Poor Communication Kills: At the pool, they merely ask Jay to point at It from a distance away, meaning It is within a few feet, not an exact spot.
  • Porn Stash: When Jay and her friends locate the derelict house that Jeff/Hugh was staying in, Paul comes across a stack of porno magazines... surrounded by balled-up tissues.
  • Psychosexual Horror: In this supernatural horror, after having a sexual encounter with a man called Hugh, a 19-year-old student called Jay Height is stalked by a nameless entity that kills those it catches up to. The stalker is relentless in its approach and she knows that she will never be completely safe, even if she passes it on through sexual intercourse. The movie itself has various sexual imagery and allegories, with the entity being the personification of venereal disease.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Yara is bookish with big 80's glasses. It's also obvious the lenses aren't prescription.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: At least some bearers of the "curse" have knowingly passed it on without prior warning or subsequent explanation, meaning even if the sex is consensual, the consequences are not. Also. "It" seems to kill its victims with rape, which makes its slow inevitability all the more horrifying.
  • Reaction Shot: Jay does not point out the fact that she sees It on the roof of the house, giving us as an audience time to infer whatever emotion we feel about the movie at that point.
  • Really Gets Around: Greg is seen flirting with a number of girls throughout the film. He even pauses to admire Yara's legs while they're at the cabin.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The main characters only get a little bit of gun training with Greg's revolver about halfway into the film, and their lack of experience definitely shows both times they try to use that gun against "It". In particular, both times the shooter fails to account for what's behind their target before opening fire, so Jay nearly shoots Greg the first time, and the second time Paul does hit Yara with his first shot - even worse considering he can't see what he's trying to shoot. He does wisely decide to wait until Kelly throws a sheet over it so he can see what he's shooting at before trying again.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. Shooting It through the head seems to have no lasting effect as demonstrated at the beach. That's why the kids change the plan to kill it with an Electrified Bathtub. That plan fails due to inexperience as well.
  • Rewatch Bonus: There are a lot of moments where a potential "It" can be seen in that background that you're almost certainly not going to see on a first viewing. There's also a lot of Foreshadowing leading up to the confrontation where "It" takes the form of Jay's father.
  • Right Through His Pants: Greg doesn't even pretend to remove his shorts before climbing under the hospital blanket to have sex with Jay. There isn't even a pause to indicate he got them off first. Jay also apparently has sex through her panties at the beginning of the movie, and later It dry-humps Greg to death.
  • Rule of Scary: Word of God states that the audience should consider this the de-facto rule on how It works, if they have any questions via Fridge Logic. Whatever answer is the most scary or unnerving, that's the correct one.
  • Run or Die: The only true way to prevent It from killing you is to make sure it doesn't touch you.
  • Scare Chord: Brilliantly subverted when Jay spots "It" in her kitchen and locks herself in her room with her friends. When they hear a knock on the door, they open it to find only Yara - only for It, in the form of a truly enormous man with ripped-out eyes to calmly walk past behind Yara in complete silence with no loud sound effect whatsoever.
  • See the Invisible: At the pool, Kelly throws a blanket over "It" in order for Paul to aim correctly with his gun.
  • Sex Is Evil: The monster is set upon Jay after she sleeps with her fit new boyfriend. Sex is the only way to transfer the 'thing' onto someone else, effectively making the thing a paranormal STD - you can pass it on, but that doesn't get rid of it, since now it's just found a new victim, and once it gets them it comes back for you. Also, once the thing gets you... sex is how it kills you.
  • Sex Signals Death: A more literal example than most. When you pass It to someone else, it's essentially a death sentence unless you tell your partner what's going to happen. Also how possibly how It kills; it's sort of hard to tell.
  • Sinister Nudity: Though the title monster is invisible to everyone except the target(s) of its pursuit, its often perceived as an either partially or completely naked human being. On one occasion, its target was able to see it standing totally naked on the roof of a house.
  • Stealth Pun: Tag, you're "it"!
  • Suburban Gothic: The danger lies in a curse that's passed from one person to another by sex and is traveling invisibly between teenagers and young adults in suburban Detroit.
  • Super-Strength: "It" is shown to have pretty abnormal strength on a few occasions — it smacks Paul aside with such force that he flies a few feet, is able to smash a hole in a wooden door, effortlessly jump-tackles Greg to the floor from a standing position, and is able to throw large electrical items — such as tube screen TVs - without much effort.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The kids deploy quite a collection of electric devices in the pool to kill It. But the pool is far too enormous for this trick to work anyway, best case, and they use strips that have breakers. And also, It starts throwing these devices into the pool at Jay, most of the time ripping the devices out of their sockets anyway.
  • The Teaser:
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Averted. Jay sees some guys partying on a boat and swims out to them, implying she intends to have sex with one or more of them to buy herself time. We don't see any of the "action," just Jay weeping in her car afterwards at what she's been reduced to doing to survive.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: When Jay returns from the hospital near the beginning, someone, presumably her mother or Kelly, has prepared a snack, along with an unknown pill, and left it for Jay to eat when she wakes up. Much later, after several days have passed, we can see that the same food is still in Jay's room, completely untouched aside from the pill, and mold has started forming on the sandwich.
  • Tomboyish Name: Jay, short for Jamie.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Greg, who spends a lot of time with Jay and still ultimately doesn't believe anything supernatural is happening. His libido is obviously getting in the way of his good sense. It gets even worse when it seems like he didn't take any precautions after sleeping with Jay.
  • Trauma Swing: After the terrifying home invasion incident, Jay escapes and ends up on a swing in a playground.
  • True Companions: Jay's sister Kelly friends Paul and Yara, and neighbor and Old Flame Greg all stick by her side in the aftermath of her trauma, and when the supernatural horror is proven to exist none of them hesitate to guard her and confront it with her. Unudually for a horror/slasher film, there is not a single coward or traitor in the bunch.
  • Tuckerization: On top of everything listed under Homage, Jay is named after Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode) and Jay's sister Kelly is named after Curtis's real-life sister.
  • Wandering Walk of Madness: The only defense against It is to keep moving, which leads to multiple scenes where people around Jay or Hugh think they're going insane due to their erratic habit of walking/running/driving - which makes sense to them, but only they can see what's pursuing them.
  • Wham Line: "What the fuck, mom?!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • Invoked after Jay and Hugh have sex. Jay is peacefully monologuing...then Hugh crawls up behind her and suffocates her with chloroform.
    • While the kids sit on the beach, we see a figure in the background, and our first instinct is to freak out as it might be the monster. Then the figure gets closer and we breathe a sigh of relief as we realise it's just Yara. Then we cut to a shot of Paul sitting and drinking, and in the background, on an inflatable ring in the sea, is Yara. Which means we were right the first time - the figure is actually "It" taking the form of Yara.
    • Later, there are the shots establishing just how "It" kills. As Jay steps into Greg's room, she finds the entity pinning him down and raping the poor guy to death. Even more shocking due to the fact that "It" chose to take the form of Greg's mother.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: While Hugh states the creature subverts this (saying it is clever enough to know who you are, where you are, and how to get close to you), Jay doesn't believe him for some obvious reasons. When she's in class a couple of days later, the creature comes for her...but takes the form of a very old woman in a hospital gown, aka someone who stands out a lot in a college. This turns out to be the quickest way for Jay to believe Hugh and to set about trying to catch the creature.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Notice that whenever someone drinks from a can, they're holding it in a way that hides the labelled side.
  • You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: The only way to survive "It" is to run away from it, as far and as fast as you can. It can't teleport, or even move faster than an ominous walk. But no matter where you hide, It WILL find you when it catches up.

 
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It Follows

The film follows Jay Height (Maika Monroe), a 19-year-old student living in the suburbs of Detroit. After a sexual encounter, she becomes stalked by a nameless entity. The film then becomes an exercise in existential dread: no matter how far Jay runs, she must face the mounting dread of its slow but relentless approach, and the fact that she will never be totally safe, even if she passes it on.

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