Hallelujah! A horror movie that was produced in the last 10 years that is legitimately good! For those of you who don’t know, my favorite genre of film is horror. Not for the blood or violence (well, maybe a little), but because of how deep, creative, and genuinely frightening they can be. Look at the absolute classics like: Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, or The Thing. Each of these movies had either: a creative premise, villains that intimidate, pacing that is near-perfect, scares that leave a lasting impression, or all of the above! In recent years, the horror genre has been butchered by the hacks (the one exception is James Wan) who think good horror is just jump scares and remakes. However, throughout all the atrocities, one young man has taken the time to write, direct, and produce a new, creative horror movie that I have been waiting for.
This film is directed/written by David Robert Mitchell and stars: Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lily Sepe, Maika Monroe, Jake Weary, and Daniel Zovatto. After a less than platonic night with her boyfriend Hugh (Jake), Jay (Maika) awakens as Hugh explains that he has now passed on a curse he has been carrying to her. For the rest of her days she will be followed by “IT” until she is caught, or until she passes it off to someone else. As “It” follows her everywhere, she must convince her friends that she is constantly being pursued by something only she can see.
First the negatives. Right off the bat, I must say that this is a fantastic movie, and should you get the chance, watch it. That knowledge aside, the worst part of the movie is the ending. The plan to defeat the villain is poorly thought out and the very last minutes are unnecessarily ambiguous. Other than that, a few decisions the characters make are laughably stupid, and there is one flaw that saddens me more than anything else. The movie is not that scary. Now, I understand that not every moment must be full of thrills, but the overall tone is not unsettling enough to be that suspenseful. Thusly, I was not that intimidated. Considering how many critics said it was one of the most terrifying films in a while (Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly for example), it just left me a little bit disappointed.
Now the positives. First, the opening 6 minutes is one of the best horror movie intros I have ever seen. The characters are all pretty powerful. Robert Mitchell cleverly avoided the cliché, “All of the friends think the main character is insane and they will shun her for it,” and instead gave personalities to her friends by having them believe and trust her even to the point of driving for miles out into the country for her. The performances also hold up. Undoubtedly the best factors of this film for me are the score, cinematography, and the original premise. The score is creepy (though a bit out-of-place at times), the direction is outstanding (next to no shaky cam), and the story is very original. I have not seen something this creative since Interstellar. The whole concept is a twist on a lifelong horror movie cliché, and the way David incorporates that into a story is genius. I look forward to anything made by David in the future and this is definitely a movie I can say will be a classic in ten years. This gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a B+.