"It" is really dead at the end.
The Ambiguous Ending with the guy following Paul and Jay is meant to throw the audience off and it really is all over.
Or alternatively, "It" is really still alive.
The lack of the body of "It" shown in the ending indicates that the odd guy following Jay and Paul at the end is really "It".
What happens in the event of a cycle?
The rules of the way that "it" works are stated to be the following.
"It" passes from person to person when they have sex.
"It" moves at walking pace and must physically enter the space where its target is ("it" breaks windows and smashes doors).
Once "it" kills its target it reverts to its previous target.
So what happens if the current target passes it to a prior target? Consider. A is the initial target. A passes it to B, B passes it to C, D passes it to E, E passes it back to B. Finally it kills B, reverts to E, kills E, reverts to D, kills D, reverts to C, kills C. Now at this point it must revert to the person who passed it to C, but B passed it to C, and B is already dead. So is it trapped? Or does it just skip a step?
Alternatively: A passes it to B, B passes it to C, D passes it to E, E passes it back to B. It kills B and reverts to the person who gave it to B. But both A and E passed it to B, so whom does it revert to? E because E passed it to B most recently or A because A passed it to B before E passed it to B?
Another possibility: A passes it to B, B passes it to C, D passes it to E, E passes it back to B, B passes it to F, F passes it to G, G passes it to H, H passes it to I, I passes it to B. It finally kills B. Does it revert to I because I passed it to B most recently, A because A passed it to B first, or E who passed it to B at some point?
Final possibility: It can't be passed "back" to an earlier target. Everyone who has been exposed to the curse can still see "it", implying that they've been permanently changed. So, if E has sex with B, "it" continues to target E, instead of switching back to targeting B.
Other interesting questions:
What happens if a target dies by some other means? Does it still revert?
What if the target is on another planet? Does it just move to the other planet at walking pace? Or does it have to physically touch the ground to travel?
What if the target is actually in an impenetrable location? Like inside a bank vault or a bunker? It seems like it has to enter through SOME physical passageway. Would it just stay outside banging on the door?
What kind of sex is required for the curse to move on? Following the movie's STD theme, you don't have to have penetrative sex in order to catch something. So does that apply to curses as well?
- Word of God from the director says that "any kind of sex counts". So whether it be straight, gay or oral sex, it will pass it on.
- In which case, a gangbang would probably be the best way to delay 'it''s encounter.
The girl from the beginning is Hugh's first attempt to rid himself of the curse.
In the YMMV section a Fridge Horror entry mentions the possibility that this could be the case. Though that does raise the thought if the girl in the beginning did revert the curse back to Hugh then that means he must have warned her just like he warned Jay; as she obviously did her best to outrun the monster. So, if he didn't do the same thing with her and the wheelchair (I feel like Jay's attack mirroring some other girl's would have been mentioned), maybe that explains why he was so extreme with Jay: he tried to rationally explain to the girl from the beginning about the curse but she freaked out and didn't really listen, so with Jay he wasn't taking any chances.
The girl at the beginning happens after the rest of the movie.
She's a girl further down the line, the rest of the movie is a FlashBack
It is an onryo.
It acts like a creature from Japanese horror. Considering the way that the curse is spread, it is not difficult to think of a curse bourne of the rage of a woman disgraced by adultery.
Every person it appears to be has been a victim of sexual assault.
As an anthropomorphization of sexual assault, rape, STDs, etc., it only has dominion over people who have been touched by it. An above average number of its manifestations are women, often in states of partial undress, injury, or apparent distress. Other manifestations include members of vulnerable groups, such as a child
and an old woman in a hospital gown
. Instead of constantly appearing as Jay's friends and family, it only did so twice three times, if you include her absent father, but that seemed clearly intended to mess with her head
. There were several men in the list, but studies do indicate that the rape and molestation of males is under-reported. It could possibly be some kind of curse or vengeful spirit cast upon a rapist, which outlived the initial abuser and is now haunting anyone who catches "it".
- One theory is that "It" was born out of rage of a rape/sexual abuse victim (perhaps one that was murdered as well) or even several victims and that it initially went after the man or woman who abused them. Because the curse is linked to sexual violence, it makes sense as to why the curse is passed on through sexual contact. It takes the form of those who've been victims of rape/sexual abuse as sort of a way to "avenge" those who've been hurt.
- Alternatively, it has dominion over both victims and perpetrators. Either way, it would have unfortunate implications about some of the people that Jay knows.
- If this was true it would probably have a higher number of male forms then, it isn't just undereported the rates of abuse are close to 50 50 equal across genders.
- It's true form is the girl that Jay sees in her kitchen. She appears to have her arms bound behind her back, her bra appears like someone attempted to yank it off, she has articles of clothing missing, and she's urinating herself (a common occurrence in rape/sexual assault victims, sometimes even done intentionally to repel their attacker). Her face also appears bruised and slightly swollen. She was raped and murdered by someone, causing her spirit to seek revenge. Her spirit also takes the form of other victims of who've been sexually abused and/or murdered by their abusers (such as the tall man whose eyes appear to be gouged out) as a way to avenge all the women, men, and children who've been sexually abused. It could be that the girl's spirit is so traumatized by what happened to her, she views all sex (consensual or otherwise) as evil, hence why she goes after anyone who has sex with a cursed person (the first person to carry the curse was the man or woman who raped and killed her).
It is a Incubus/Succubus.
It is a supernatural creature that is connected to sex. It's curse is passed through sex and it kills through sex which seems like something a Incubus/Succubus would do. Also, the ability to switch genders is also in some legends about such creatures.
The movie takes place in a parallel universe
Technology is all over the place. Old cars, new cars, no cell phones, tube televisions and old-fashioned theaters both showing old movies, and Yara's e-reader is unlike anything currently on the market. The movie takes place on a parallel Earth where everything is just slightly...off.
- The theater is an actual 1920's-era theater that's been restored by volunteers.
It has the ability to teleport when not directly observed.
Due to some bizarre quirk in It's nature, when It is observed, It can only travel at a walking pace. This ties into Word of God
that It can cross oceans, and also explains how It catches up to the main characters so easily, despite the fact that they're driving everywhere. Weirder is the fact that It has to physically break into people's houses, but maybe It can't teleport directly into Its victim's line of sight, or into their personal abodes. Perhaps the curse is not to be followed by It, but simply the ability to perceive It, and It hunts down those who have the curse, to prevent them from spreading, and limiting Its potential omnipresence further.
It has a substantially less effective cousin, who can't shapeshift, and uses a spoon.
Known as The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon
A theory raised
by James Rolfenote
when discussing the film for Monster Madness: why is Death by Sex
such a common trope in slasher movies
? Why do slashers so relentlessly pursue their victims? Why are they always Not Quite Dead
at the end? Because all of those slasher monsters are merely avatars of It, and all of their victims are marked.
- So "It" is Nyarlathotep?
- Alternatively, It is simply another aspect of, well... IT.
Jay is making this up in her head.
She's writing this story in her head. None of the actual scary stuff happens that's all her story but her bumming around with her friends is real.
It feeds from fear, yes eventually it will kill the victim with rough sex, but in the meantime it feeds from the fear of the victim. Several parts of the movie shows this; a) It can take any form it wants, if it wants just to feed from the person then it would take the form of someone known to lure the person, if It takes forms of very scary people is just to scare the victim. b) It always walks slowly, but we can see it in roofs, walking through very long distances in little time and at least once moving fast (when takes the form of a creepy child entering through a hole in a door) so it is choosing willingly to walk slowly. c) Several times It just tease the victim even when the victim is complete in reach like when it pulls Jay's hair in front of her friends not taking the chance to take her when she is distracted. d) We never see It attacking someone slept, even when is a perfect opportunity. Thus, conclusion is; It takes forms that scare its victims and its main goal is feed from the fear, even when it eventually those kills the victims sucking the life out of them.
- Also, the nature of the curse is such that two "infected" people - the only ones capable of seeing "it" - are unlikely to stick together. No chances of taking turns guarding from it or even the comfort of having someone with you who knows you are not crazy.
It can't attack you if you're not awake.
We see several scenes when Jay is slept or unconscious and It does not attack her even when she is then an easier target; after she crashes her car, at the hospital and when sleeping in the top of her car. It needs you to be awake and conscious to appear, whether this is because It likes to taint the victim or because is magically bound for some supernatural reason, who knows.
This is kind of a WMG but, notice how It takes the form of a victim's parent twice; when It kill Greg as his mother and when it was gonna kill Jay in the pool. Again, a WMG but the first girl killed in the beach (the one with the broken leg) is speaking about her father on the phone whilst saying good bye [may be was she seeing her father?], so the thing seem to take the figure of a parent when it decides is gonna kill the victim. This shows intelligence (and extreme cruelty, especially considering that It rapes its victims, so is the last thing they see). Also is capable of understanding that a trap has been put in place as when it choses not to enter the pool. It is clearly sentient and as such it probably choses its form in order to torture the victim more.
It is vulnerable in water.
We only see it traveling through water once, and after being shot in the head the pool fills with an unusual amount of blood.
"It" is a spirit
of sexual cruelty and punishment.
- Either "Its" victims have more sex, knowingly dooming their sexual partner eventually, or it gets to punish them for having had sex. Either way, more Essence for It to feed on. "Its" Bans include having to interact with the world physically and the inability to run.
The whole story is about Jay trying to cope with having been raped
- She goes on the date with Hugh in the woods, but they didn't have consensual sex before he drugged her; he drugged her right away and then raped her. Her trauma made her imagine that she was being watched and followed at all times, often by disturbing nude and semi-nude people. She wanted to form healthy sexual relationships, but she was afraid of sex and invented a reason in her head about why sex is inherently dangerous.
The whole story is an urban legend
- The anachronisms are because this is a story that has been told by teenagers for decades. The old movies are from when kids in the '40s told each other the story, the soundtrack is from kids in the '80s and so forth.
It really did die at the pool, but It also came back
- The amount of blood seemed really meaningful, and could have implied it really was killed. However, ST Ds are commonly bloodborne, including HIV. So the next time people get in that pool they start becoming new targets of It, and It reforms to begin hunting them down.
It gets transferred to new victims in a two-part process
- Having sex can transfer the curse to a new victim, but unless the victim is told about such after the fact and made aware of the situation, It will ignore the intended new victim and continue pursuit of the current target.
It is an independent Stand from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
- It relentlessly hunts a target, follows odd rules and is invisible to non Stand users, including everyone who hasn't been 'cursed'. The creature is a Stand that relentlessly tries to kill its host and is only escapable by transmitting it to another, ala Anubis or Cheap Trick. Its Stand name, tentatively, could be 'Closer'.
Jeff/Hugh contracted It from the girl in his photo.
- In the photo that leads to Jay and friends finding out who and where Jeff is, they're able to tell via a varsity jacket worn by the girl. Given the jacket looks big on her, and her closeness to Jeff in the photo, it's possible that he and the girl were maybe high school sweethearts, or perhaps even boyfriend and girlfriend up to a time. But, during a break, or perhaps a rough patch in their relationship, the girl slept with someone else and contracted It. Then gave it to him when they slept together, before breaking it off altogether. He claims he only thinks he got it from a random girl at a bar. But it's entirely possible that she gave it to him, and he's just in denial that someone he cared about would have passed this onto him without telling him.