Doug Reviews: It Follows

Um…yeah, why do people like this?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

71 comments

  1. On the beach/boat scene: the implication is that she had sex with either one of the boys are multiple, likely with the intention of simply buying herself time. If I recall correctly the scene takes place after she’s put a fair amount of distance between it and herself, so she was likely acting under the thought that it was going to take time for it to kill one of the boys and subsequently make its way back to her. Whether or not she bothered to tell the boys about it, they were killed and it defaulted back to the main character as the target. Hence why by the next few scenes it is already following her again.

    • Actually, as I recall, she later says she didn’t go through with it. Its rather a key moment, where she has the opportunity to pass it on to complete innocents, but knowing full well the consequences of doing so, she decides to confront it instead. The way the scene cuts as she starts to swim out is supposed to be ambiguous as to what she did until says it.

      • I seem to recall at one point that the entity changed into the image of one of the guys on the boat when the naked old guy was on top of the house in one of the shots which would imply that it was passed on but killed that person and it was now coming after her again. I may be wrong as the shot of the people on the boat was from a distance. She did pass it on to the neighbor kid who was kind of a dick but still fairly innocent even though there was an established relationship there from the past. I don’t recall her making any reference to the boat event to any of the other characters in the movie either.

        • There is never any acknowledgement of the people on the boat outright, but in the scene that takes place later, she says to Paul that she could never do to someone else what she did to Greg (i.e sleep with them to pass the curse on). What occurred off-screen is deliberately left as ambiguous as possible, so it’s up to the viewer to decide what took place.

          Personally, my immediate thought in the theater was that she lied to Paul to spare his feelings, or possibility that she was being truthful in that she could never pass it on again to someone she cared about (Paul).

      • Film Brain is right, but I take Doug’s opinions on horror movies with a non existent grain of salt. In his top “New Halloween Classics” he glossed over the true new Halloween classic “Trick r Treat.” He passed it off as an honorable mention, and misrepresented it with a false description saying that the villain is a trick or treater. Jesus Christ, how much more off base could he be? Hey Doug why don’t you check with your much more talented idol James Rolfe about what the true new Halloween classic is. It was the movie he chose to praise on Halloween for the last Monster Madness marathon he did, maybe if you watch that review you’d realize you need to address it in your next top 11 fuck ups.

    • To be honest my initial thought was that she was going to hitch a ride with them so she wouldn’t have to go back the way she came.

  2. Hrm, sounds kinda like what happened with Death Note. Yeah, really weird to compare these two, but it seems like Doug is addressing a somewhat familiar feeling that I was left with.

    Yeah, in story and tone and everything else, Death Note and It Follows have nothing in common. But what they did seem to go for with a lot of enthusiasm was their own unique ideas, and the gusto they approached it with. Death Note is one of my favorite anime, but it also crashed and burned so miserably because they simply killed L off waaaayyy too damn soon. And the story was desperately trying to build up to something big in the end, but just kinda fell apart on itself, instead. Like there were so many moments where Light should have gotten caught but made it through via plot immunity, like when he made it clear to the ICPO that Kira was getting inside information on the investigation, or when he axed off all those FBI agents when he should have just kept his cool and waited for them to get bored of their targets and just leave. And the hell of it is, these mistakes didn’t even come back to bite him in the end, when he was finally cornered. It built itself up to something spectacular but just froze up in the end. Plus that final scene had too much unintentional hilarity.

    So in short, I think I kinda get what Doug is saying. It’s not like he went into this with the mindset of snubbing it, he was really trying to get behind It Follows and understand what it was saying, how it worked, and whether the effects were properly linked with the causes, and it just led to an ambitious plot being lost to poor conveyance to the audience. It seemed like It Follows really had the potential to be something amazing and really leave an impact through the ages, but just kinda got left with that ‘So close, and yet so far’ status, instead.

    I do plan on checking this out though, at some point. At least it’s not Lazarus Project. Speaking of which Doug, I hope you’ll drag that piece of cinematic shame out to the chopping block soon, because I seriously wanted to fight someone after I watched it.

    • I kind-of disagree with you on Death Note. They should have killed off L sooner. After Light is caught and goes through the big ordeal of having to prove his innocence, the show stops being about one genius vs. another and starts suffering because of it. They have literally all the tools they need and 2 geniuses but suddenly they have to be nerfed so that they don’t figure out who’s behind the killings now too soon and the writing goes downhill because of it. At one point, the guy who is suppost to be smart enough to practically figure out someone’s address from a distance within barely 10 minutes of the first kill sees a guy write down a name, shout “Why didn’t he die?!” while watching the guy they’re using as bait for the one behind the Notebook at the time, and then seriously needed more convincing before he managed to finally put the pieces together.

      If it was up to me, I would have either given Light the Death Note back shortly after he was released because who the heck would suspect him now and have him kill L shortly afterwards and then either had the original planned ending where Light becomes a Shinigami happen or I would have had him show how much of a monster he was for a few episodes, then have someone close to him figure it out and kill him off so the series could go out on a high note. Although, at the same time, I’d be completely cool with starting a new Death Note series up with new characters because it’s just a great premise for a series no matter how you look at it.

      But that’s just my thoughts. I’ve never seen It Follows, I just wanted to give my opinion on Death Note.

    • Haven’t seen It Follows, so here’s a Death Note reply. I’m not sure what they could have done after L’s death to fix the problems that plagued the story. There were good parts, but I think the five year time jump was a bit much. I like when stories explore (in DN’s case, start to explore) what happens when the bad guy wins and the world is remolded to fit his agenda, but it was missing the personal tension that the first half had. Also, I read the manga and then didn’t bother watching most of the show, since it followed so closely it was unnecessarily repetitive. I might have reconsidered, but the voice acting bugged me. Eh.

      BUT, guys, fellow Death Note fans, while I know it’s tacky to plug something on someone else’s page, it’s so rare to see current Death Note fans that I wanted to mention: I made a Death Note board game! It’s is no flimsy amateur effort, either. It’s not professionally made, but it’s quality stuff, and all the artwork was all lovingly done by me. If you doubt it, it has an Etsy page. If you search for it, I’m pretty sure it’s the only one there. (It does feel too tacky to put in links.) Just thought I’d mention it if there was a chance you might be interested!

      • I think they could have made it shorter. My main problem with the second half was that most of the interesting ideas where already used and it took a long time too move forwards.

        @Dethhollow: I was thinking about a new series with new characters, too! This is probably the only way you could move on from here and give a new twist to the story. I’m sad that never happend.

        • Yeah. I mean, there’s just so many places you could go with that. Like maybe the next Death Note owner is a lawyer and they have to use the power to either frame people or find ways to save people from jail through murder. Or maybe they could be a criminal or someone who’s roped into a criminal empire and they could keep the tactical feel but have a twist on it where they’re already a suspect and need to use the power to escape the authorities and/or stop other crimelords. Or they could have the next user be some form of politician, someone who would be under almost constant surveillance but would use the Death Note to try and exploit the downsides to his opponent’s ideals or something of that nature. Or maybe even have a series where the main character has the notebook, the world accepts them for having the notebook and using it to stop bad people and they’re open about it, but they’re constantly at risk from people acting outside of the law and forced to sort-of deal with other people making them use it or something.

          The possibilities really are just there and the more I think about it, the better untapped ideas I run into for how this could be an interesting story and still carry much of the same feel and style of the original series.

  3. The Mysterious M

    Doug, when you’re trying to describe the setting, I think the term you’re looking for is anachronistic.

    Also, I think people like this because of the retro effect. I mean the abrupt ending, the theatrical poster (which I saw on wikipedia)… this is an 80s horror movie made in 2014.

  4. Doug, I think the problem is that you’re under the impression that the movie was trying to be like a Kubrick movie when really it was trying to be like a John carpenter movie. If you compare to movies like Halloween and The Thing, then the style makes a lot more sense.

  5. I haven’t seen it but the way you describe the different ways they try to kill the antagonist reminds me of one of the segments from VHS with the monster in the woods that can only be seen on a camera. Which leads me to think, do they try to capture it or hold it somewhere? It sounds like it has a physical presence and has to walk from point A to point B. Wrap it in chains, drop it in a cement truck, pour it into a pit, and seal it in.

  6. I don’t get why this movie has such a good rotten tomatoes score. It was OK, but far from great in the horror genre.

    • The Mysterious M

      It’s something I learned in my high school statistics class. I wish I could remember what it was called. Scores and averages are based on the reviews given. And only the people who feel strong enough about certain products will review it. So it’s not capturing everyone’s opinion, only the opinion of those who reviewed.

  7. We should stop caring what people like because people are stupid sheep.

  8. Nostalgia Critic has evolved(devolved?) into the People’s Reaction Critic

    At first it added something to the reviews but it’s become a crutch
    Reviewing everything in relation to the internet reaction isn’t properly reviewing the intended subject.
    I’d rather see a review than an internet celebrity with misplaced confidence talk down to his audience

    And the south park morals at the end of the episode are getting real old,real fast. Mainly because they’re so predictable(don’t be nerdy usually,even tho that’s why the fuck they clicked on the video)you can see it coming from a mile away.

    So NC defending Dr.Seuss was just so Doug could feel self-righteous,because I’m not even a fan of Seuss and I know his thoughts on and techniques to avoid an obvious moral of the story.

    So,Doug,just rename yourself the Internet Reaction Critic,that’s all you are now

  9. I liked this movie, didn’t love it, and I think there are a fair amount of people that feel that way, hence the 83 Metacritic score, which while certainly respectable is nowhere near the Rotten Tomatoes score. This is because Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t care how much or how little you liked a movie, it’s a binary system of fresh or rotten. Overall I liked the atmosphere and soundtrack, despite the anachronisms in the props it felt like a late 70s-early 80s throwback which I liked. I also liked the characters pretty well, they were fairly tropey, but I felt like they all had personality and there is some good comedy in there, though I’m not sure it was all supposed to be funny.

    The movie feels like a big sex allegory, but I’m not sure it knows what it’s trying to say about sex. For the main girl it feels like it could be the lingering dread and suspicion of people that might arise out of a rape. Perhaps for others it literally is the burden of carrying an STD, or just the general pressures surrounding sex that teens deal with.

    My main issue is it felt like a missed opportunity to make proper use of an interesting, if not entirely new concept. This thing can take the form of anyone, why does it always seem to take the form of random people the person its pursuing has never met? This does not seem to benefit its end goal. I can imagine so many great scenes where two characters are together, one gets up to go do something and comes back, and then you slowly start to realize that person has been replaced by this malevolent entity, sort of like The Thing. Instead it’s always incredibly obvious except in one or two instance which one is the evil thing. Ultimately this makes the film feel like a zombie movie with one zombie, yeah it’s a burden to deal with all the time, but apparently it doesn’t or can’t target you in your sleep, and all you have to do to avoid it is move around it and put some distance between the two of you.

    That’s another issue with all the rules, they establish this strict set of guidelines for this thing, but there are so many loopholes, if I take a plane to another country does it have to swim across the ocean at 2 mph to get to me? Anyway, sorry for the rant, just felt like getting my thoughts out on this one. Overall I enjoyed it, but I always face palm when I hear it compared to The Babadook, which is a much different, and much better film.

  10. This movie is excellent.

    The reason why is that it totally avoids all of the things that modern horror movies do, and is balls to the wall scary. It’s like a lost film from the early 80s that somehow got discovered and was released in 2015.

    The wide shots throughout this movie are glorious. It looks SOOOO goddamn good. I couldn’t possibly thank this film’s director enough for having the decency to show us what we should be seeing, and not shaking the camera around and pumping us full of worthless jump scares. I want a hopeless atmosphere, like Night of the Living Dead, and that is what this movie gives us.

    It felt like a George Romero or (in particular) John Carpenter film. It is executed exceedingly well. I absolutely loved it.

    Either way, I am glad, Doug, that you weren’t a dick about not liking it. I disagree with you, but I’m not upset about that.

    • My only really major complaint about this film is that it doesn’t take place in any particular time period. That is off putting and somewhat difficult to wrap the mind around.

      Brad Jones suggested that maybe the film is supposed to take place in the 1980s, but the director didn’t have the budget to depict as much, so he just made it kind of ambiguous. That makes a whole lot of sense It would explain everything.

      Still, I don’t really like the the idea that we don’t know roughly when this movie is supposed to be taking place.

  11. I think this is a very fair review. Maybe you could review John Carpenter’s “The Thing”? I had similar problems with that movie during recent rewatch.

    Since young people look up to you, you shouldn’t encourage them to use phone in the theater during movie.

  12. Judging from the comments here. Wonder if doug may make a response to this vid, and Filmbrains review of it.

  13. These reviews remind me why I prefer Lindsay Ellis when it comes to actual knowledgeable analysis of film.

  14. Why bother being butthurt? He doesn’t like Space Jam and thought Un-Friended was quality, so why would you expect him to understand something that is well made and intelligent?

    • Whoah. Completely undermining a person’s opinion because it doesn’t line up with your own? You realize that comments like these only emphasize how right Doug is on how people react to opinions, do you?

      • Pointing out someone’s inability to show good tastes and intellectual responses =/= undermining an opinion nor emphasize the false “correctness”. Nice try bye.

        • Pointing out what he feels for three movies (Unfriended, Space Jam and It follows) doesn’t necessarily mean he has poor taste either.
          It might simply not be his thing.
          Not everyone likes the same movies, sports, comics, videogames, etc. And even people who have similar tastes may have them for different reasons.

    • Because Space Jam is actually somehow a masterpiece of media or something??? Seriously, you listed a crappy film with next to no thought put into it and a film that did something different… and that’s somehow suppost to undermine his specific opinion of “I don’t get why people like this, I think I’m probably missing something”.

      First off, I can’t remember ONE good joke from Space Jam. So your definition of quality’s a bit off already. Secondly, even if he did like something that’s just absolute crap, that doesn’t ruin an opinion of “I don’t see why this is popular”. In fact, I don’t think ANYTHING could shut down an opinion of “I don’t see why this is popular, somebody tell me what I’m missing.”

  15. PeterOfThePanpipes

    I think there is a clear reason for the abrupt ending and lack of explanation of the monster itself:

    That is the scariest thing about disease. We don’t know how they start. And until there’s a cure, they are a lurking horror, that can be anyone around you.

    • I haven’t seen the movie yet, but yeah…that’s exactly what I was getting from what he described. Made me think of some sort of HIV allegory. People with it just get to live with the creeping specter of lurking death over their shoulder with no real recourse, just trying to avoid letting it…get them (med cocktail vs…fleeing the creeper.) Especially if it was partly set in the 80s. Then all the rules not making sense being all the other kinds of superstition and misinformation around it, especially early on. *shrug* BUT i haven’t seen it, and could be waaay off track.

  16. The STDemon is weak to water.
    The movie never tells the characters but the STDemon takes more damage from bullets while in the pool and it was raining outside at that time. It also explains why the STDemon didn’t want to go into the pool at first and sucks at swimming.
    It makes it ironic how the first victim and the protagonist were near the ocean/lake and didn’t realize that it could save them.

    I didn’t like it much.
    The demon is insanely weak. Heck, anyone halfway intelligent would love the demon. Prove its real and then go on Jerry Springer. You can make so much money off of that thing.
    And everyone is so boring. Its like watching the Lost In Space line “I love you wife” on a loop. Apparently having sex is as interesting as going to the bathroom.

    • DougWalkersGoatee

      Say STDemon one more time. If you repeat it over and over and over again people will think you’re clever and you’ll become the next big internet sensation for coining a term that stands the test of time. Tom Smith 4/24/2015 at 10:38 pm. You heard it here first, folks!

  17. Yeah, I like the metaphoric aspect of this movie but horror movies aren’t my thing so meh. Although, it sounds like it was over-hyped for you, Doug. Sadly, the same thing happened with one of my friends and Guardians of the Galaxy. I personally thought that the message of this movie was “Careful with who you sleep with” which is rarely a message. Although, I might be missing something since I have no plans of seeing this movie.

  18. Wait… It was a horror?! A film warning about STD’s maybe, but not horror. I found myself laughing hystericaly in the cinema during projection (and so did others).

  19. What I understood about the “form” It takes : all those incarnation are previous victims, and It takes their appearances as well as their lives when it kill/rape them. If the girl/It peed herself in the kitchen, I gathered it’s because that what she did when she died, and that It keep the exact appearances of its victims (and that’s why they have torn clothes – because It literally sexually attacked them to death). And considering It takes the appearances of a child at some point, then this aspect of the story is particularly unsettling.
    And about the inconsistency of the way It kill you point at, I may have an explanation : we now It kills using sex, but It can also use strength, for instance if the person resists. That’s maybe what happened to the girl in the beginning : It catch her, she resists, It throw her in the air or something, and then it rapes her and kills her.

  20. I think Doug ended in a similar situation to me with the videogame Spec Ops: the Line. Everybody is praising it to high heaven and that set his expectations really high. And when he finally decides to watch it, the movie doesn’t live up to those expectations.

    Spec Ops for me was a pretty standard 3rd person shooter with a better-than-most-videogames-in-its-genre story, I didn’t particularly find it anywhere near the ‘masterpiece’ a lot of people claim it was.

    Doug, next time you’re requested to do a really popular movie, try to go in absolutely blind and tune out everyone else’s hype.

    TLDR: Don’t believe the hype.

  21. It Follows, was a movie I dug, but was really shocked so many others did. I like slow-burn creepers like It Follows and A Girl Walks Home at Night, but I’m not used to them capturing the imagination of the general public.

  22. You should do a vlog on Steven Universe!

  23. Doug, you watched this film this film with the completely wrong mindset and part of that is because people told you it was like Cabin in the Woods but the other part is because you read sooo much in the wrong way. Firstly, this is not an abstract or artsy film; it is in fact very simple and the style is completely emulating the style of John Carpenter in terms of cinematography, tone and music. It seems like you haven’t really watched or just don’t enjoy John Carpenter’s style. Secondly, this film is not about STDs; the director has stated that this is not an STD movie for that to be the case having sex has to be the “sin” of this film but it isn’t. The sin of this film is really being young (to quote Cabin in the Woods). I feel that this film is about becoming an adult and how you’re entering a world where anyone, strangers, family, people you know can attack you at any moment; we live in a dog eat dog world, lacking compassion from the world around us. Thirdly, this isn’t set in a strange time, sure they don’t state a time but there are many places around the world that don’t look like they conform to their present time period and also the film is paying homage to the John Carpenter films of the 70’s and 80’s. Just because we don’t see these kids playing with their phones doesn’t mean it’s not set now. Also the film was shot in Detroit and there are many areas around Detroit that seem foreign (e.g. Ryan Gosling’s film Lost River, he didn’t make that area of Detroit look post apocalyptic, he found those places and wanted to make something that utilised them). As far as several of the character motivations, a lot of them wouldn’t seem so jarring if the kids were of a younger age e.g. the director has said that he wanted the pool scene to seem almost like a Scooby Doo or Goonies scene where it’s just these kids who have no idea how to stop something so they’re like “hey lets just see if this will do something, either way we can just run away again and think of something else to do.” I myself didn’t find the abrupt cuts and ambiguity jarring or confusing, I feel like I got a lot of what it was trying to say but still feel a second viewing is required. Your hyped up expectations and comparisons from other people definitely caused for your rather mixed viewing experience and also the fact that you think it’s trying to be artsy and complex…it’s not, it simple (not at all trying to be weird or abstract a la David Lynch), it’s trying to be John Carpenter and is successful and what’s wonderful about John Carpenter is his simplicity. That’s just a few of my thoughts, I hope it is helpful in any way.

    • Note:
      I don’t absolutely love this film or think it’s the be all end all of the horror genre. I really really liked it but don’t think it’s at all a masterpiece.

  24. Once again, super weird watching Brad’s review on this and then watching Doug’s. Its like they have the exact opposite taste in movies haha.

  25. Just going by the review because horror isn’t my thing, it sounds like this is one of those movies that pretends to be about something to get people talking and reading into things when really it’s a fake-out to look more thoughtful than it really is. Again, just going by the review.

  26. This horror movie sounds really dull and stupid to me.

  27. >Um…yeah, why do people like this?
    -Why did you liked ‘Unfriended’ ?

    ~It’s a mystery !~

  28. Doug if the American movie viewing public audience compares this movie’s themes to the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and other peoples like Slavs and Romani or Gypsy people, then they’re just stupid and ignorant to me since I’m not generally a horror movie fan and have not seen “It Follows” nor care to, so Doug this movie as you described it as just crap with little to no historical/social/political connotations or undertones nor should there be, it’s just a dumb stock horror flick as you said, I’m a more elevated guy as you can tell.

  29. The whole film is about the phobia of strangers. How anyone random person in the crowd could be the one to pull out a gun or knife or deadly disease and kill you without any real reason at all.

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