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Review: ‘It Follows’ delivers impressively fresh horrors

Scene from ‘It Follows’
Maika Monroe in “It Follows.”
(RadiusTWC)

Could we be on the cusp of a new golden age of horror films? On the heels of last year’s acclaimed “The Babadook” comes writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows,” another smart, relentlessly chilling thriller that opts for originality over cheaply rejiggered jolts.

Set in an unnamed American town at a deliberately vague time, the film is built around Jay (an impressive Maika Monroe), a college student who’s stalked by increasingly violent apparitions after a seemingly casual sexual encounter.

While it taps that time-honored (especially the ‘70s) horror movie trope that presents the “monster” as a cautionary metaphor for teen promiscuity, “It Follows” adeptly layers in creepy subtext and intensely pitched nightmarish dread to nerve-jangling effect.

Also welcome are the convincing performances by Monroe and young, fresh-faced cast mates playing relatable characters who don’t fall prey to the bone-headed moves that tend to typify contemporary horror-flick behavior.

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Further accentuating the unsettling mood is a rumbling electronic ambient score by Disasterpeace and the incorporation of a natural soundscape that manages to make chirping crickets sound menacing.

Mitchell, who directed the 2010 film “The Myth of the American Sleepover,” delivers here a welcome breath of fresh scares.

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“It Follows”

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MPAA rating: R for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, language.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Playing: ArcLight Hollywood.


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