I’m not going to say anything about “It Follows.”
The best chance a horror movie has of working is with an audience that has no idea of what is in store. When I was a boy, all we knew of the horror movie about to unspool was the few seconds we had glimpsed in the previews the previous week. Nobody had told us the story of Dracula. We didn’t even know what a Dracula was. But we found out. Christopher Lee showed us.
After a while we caught onto a few things about horror movies. If there was a behemoth in the previews, we had a pretty good idea of what to expect between the scenes of carnage. Scientists would track the monster’s movements. The military would throw everything they had at it and fail to destroy it. An untested weapon or far-fetched idea would finally get the job done. All we really cared about was seeing the monster. The rest was filler.
The memorable horror films I saw as an adult were the ones that took me by surprise, mostly because I saw them by accident on triple features, and had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Some turned out to be classics; others were just schlock. Among the classics I count “Suspiria,” “Lisa and the Devil,” “Repulsion,” “Videodrome,” and “Possession,” with “Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride,” “The Sentinel,” and “Equinox” lying among the junk that caught me off guard.
Some of the most prestigious horror classics left me cold because I knew too much about them before having the chance to see them. Among the great disappointments were “Psycho,” “Ringu,” “The Exorcist.” and “Night of the Living Dead.” With the exception of “The Exorcist,” all were films of merit, but advance word had ruined them for me.
And so I will say nothing about “It Follows.” I am not even going to urge you to see it, because then you might go with expectations that will be unfulfilled, and you will go through life thinking it was a crummy movie. And maybe it is. But I want to draw your attention to it, if only because it is not your common, run-of-the-mill horror movie in a market that is saturated with absolute crap.