a Primal Root written review
Let me get this out of the way, I am stupendously happy, thrilled even, when an independent horror movie makes it big, is released wide and actually sells tickets. No matter how good or piss poor, that does not matter to me one single bit, I just want the powers that be to give interesting, strange, unique ideas a fucking chance to thrive. There is a market that exists for oddities. Movies that test boundaries, flesh out ideas never before explored, and whether I go away on the verge of tears over watching something so awe inspiringly great or I walk out with my eyes rolling out of my head over how boring the whole experience was, I want NEW! I want FRESH! I want to see what’s churning inside the melons of all us aging youngsters that came of age on a steady diet of video store horror movie rentals, long summer nights spent gorging or sweet young minds on 90’s MTV, HBO Real Sex, and the rise and proliferation of tabloid journalism! Whether it’s people getting sewn together ass to mouth, 90 minutes of static video footage of young assholes sleeping while their door movies a centimeter, or some slasher in a shitty mask sets up horrifying home alone style traps and collects his victims, I don;t care. Just keep bringing them on. Because I would rather spend my money on a filmmaker who is trying to do something he or she believes in than some cash in fucking remake of someone else’s vision.
That being said, I saw It Follows directed by David Robert Mitchell this past weekend. I went in blind, actively avoiding trailers and reviews and only hearing buzz from friends and NPR. It payed off when i saw Babadook, one of the better horror offerings I’ve seen in a damn good while, so being the eager horror cinema fan that I am, I offered up my money and braced for impact and the lights dimmed and one of the best reviewed films of the year flickered to life on the screen.
Let me tell me give you the low down. You get fucked and you get cursed by an entity that relentlessly, methodically, slowly follows you, tracking you down no matter where you are so that it can kill you. Only the fucked or fuckers can see the titular “IT” of the title which follows you around. This thing can take on any form, can piss anywhere, and can be stopped by closing a door. The only way to stop it from following you is to fuck someone else, and then they are cursed to be followed till they pass the Ghost-T-D to some other unlucky bastard willing to spread ’em open wide or poke for your nasty haunted ass.
Cool enough premise, it’s like The Ring but with genitals rather than VHS tapes. There are all kinds of way to go with this thing, my imagination was over run with thoughts of where a concept like this might lead, how the teens encountering such a nightmarish creature would react, I mean, the possibilities are endless. The first twenty minutes or so, leading up the the inciting incident, are actually pretty interesting. We learn about our central characters and our lead ing lady, blonde, budding sexual teenage girl and the masturbation fodder of every young boy in her neighborhood, Jay (Maika Monroe) who is no stranger to getting laid, as we learn, and without giving everything the movie has in store away, ends up getting cursed with the sex monster early in the film.
Not quick to believe that anything supernatural is happening, Jay believes what happened to her was a bizarre rape scenario, and leaves it at that. Until “IT” begins hunting her down at school, in her kitchen, in her bedroom, wherever she is, this thing is there showing off it’s Hanes underwear, hairy ball sack or busted gob. The visages “IT” decides to show itself as often relates itself to ac lose personal relationship or some nastier trauma or horror. Sometimes it’s truly creepy, other times it;s awkwardly humorous. All I can say is that I have my Halloween costume for 2015, all I need is a bag of corn starch, a ladder to climb onto my roof with and to stop trimming my Little Root region. If you see the movie, you’ll know what I mean.
It’s a great concept that drags on for far too long, plus, these teenagers are all life suckingly dull. Their lives are in peril and they act so bored, so laid back and uninterested, it’s hard for me to work up enough interest to care in their fates. In the film’s climactic battle at an indoor pool we are treated to what feels like ten minutes of kids passively sitting around, napping, looking like they’ve already had the life drained out of them through their pink teenage sexual organs. Maika Monroe, the actress portraying Jay, does a pretty good job freaking out and acting afraid while being attacked, but for the majority of the film it feels like every young actor on screen took a swing of Nyquil before the cameras rolled. Even when these kids lives hang in the balance, they do not have enough character to generate interest in their plight. And there’s about half a dozen of them. And it;s a movie about Fuck Ghosts for fuck’s sake!
There are some pretty nightmarish moments. The initial scene where Jay is confronted by her newly acquired pussygeist, a late night kitchen vision, and a young man confronting his Oedipal fate in his bedroom, but otherwise a lot of the later horror set pieces come off as slapstick comedy more than anything genuinely frightening. “It” starts flinging Goodwill donations at our wet, bikini clad heroine, horny weeny men get thrown through the air by invisible entities, it all just comes of as a little goofy as the movie goes from one ending to another stretching itself out to feature length. I dunno, none of it really had much of an impact on me.
I will commend the film’s lack of parental units. These kids are basically on their own. No one cares where they are, what they’re doing or with who, and I feel like there just might be something to be something to that. We see parents for split seconds as they sit at kitchen tables with their backs to the camera, or show up as naked spectral visions to scare the shit out of the youngins’, but there is remarkably little interaction between these kids and their parents. ALSO, I really liked how unglamorous the act of teenage sex was depicted. It looks downright boring, and always disappointing. At least if the actors are to be believed. Everyone always seems bored out of their minds both during and after the act. As if you give lobotomies with a stiff cock and wet hatchet wound. Teenage sex was never that dull where I came from, but then again, it wasn’t The Red Shoe Diaries either…I just like that the filmmakers made it look really uneventful and unfulfilling. And, shit, you might just get a skeet-skeet-skeet GHOOOST from that three minutes in Heaven.
Long story short, (too late) I completely respect It Follows for being utterly unique and trying out something totally different. Please, keep making movies this unusual and you’ll see me at the movie theater far more often. Still, I found It Follows to be completely unengaging and and forgettable. It starts off with an enormous amount of promise, but falls apart quickly after the film shows all it;s cards and never regains it’s hold on it’s own story. I’m happy for the praise it’s been getting and the notoriety it has garnered. I can only hope more folks will be willing to take chance on under the radar trash cinema.
Forgettable, but a damn good try. It sure did look really pretty.
ONE AND A HALF out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets
-The Primal Root