When I saw It Follows in its theatrical run earlier in the year, my reaction to it was mild. With all the hype around it promising one of the scariest movies in years, I was disappointed to find that the scares were relatively mild for this mostly atmospheric movie. I found a lot of interesting elements in it—its examinations of class and post-industrial America in particular—but ultimately came away somewhat disappointed.
Watching it a second time, now knowing not to expect to be scared, I liked it quite a bit more. The core concept is still a fantastic horror idea, but the movie really doesn’t seem to be about horror and scares—at least not in the way that most horror fans would expect. In my reading of the film, the real horror, the things that all people should be most afraid of in the film’s view, include the terror (and beauty) of making oneself vulnerable to others, people who are not like us (or at least who we don’t know), and simply needing to face up to life as an adult in a bewilderingly odd world.
That’s not necessarily a prescription for the kind of horror movie that a cult grows around, but it does make for a movie that uses its horrific elements to tell a more nuanced and more relatable story. Great stuff.