It Follows review

This celebrated supernatural thriller looks back to the past for the inspiration to its greatness

The idea of being relentlessly stalked by an unstoppable force is one of the most familiar notions in the horror genre. But rarely has the concept been used as efficiently or as effectively as in writer-director David Robert Mitchell's minimalist supernatural chiller It Follows.

A teenage girl flees her home and drives to the beach, only to be brutally murdered by the time the sun rises... Meanwhile, in Detroit, college student Jay (Maika Monroe) is drugged by Hugh, the boy she has just had sex with. She awakens tied to a wheelchair, and Hugh proceeds to tell her that from now on she'll be stalked by a supernatural entity that can take the form of anyone – and the only way she can get rid of it is to have sex with somebody else. But she must still be careful, as when it kills that person, the curse will revert back to her. Blimey, what's a girl to do?

David Robert Mitchell has admitted to being a fan of the horror genre and it certainly shows. However, while It Follows is clearly indebted to the likes of John Carpenter's Halloween in terms of its setting and visual style, it's no mere copy. Instead, Mitchell's film acknowledges its forebears while striking out in bold new directions.

Layered with subtext and anchored by excellent performances, this terrifying and intelligent shocker ranks among the best horrors of the past decade. As far as being a modern fright classic goes, the only thing missing is a massively inferior direct-to-DVD sequel. But surely that can't be too far off…

Picture: Shot on Arri Alexa Plus and Red Epic cameras, It Follows boasts a very crisp look, something that has been carried over to the Blu-ray's 2.40:1-framed 1080p encode. While the sharpness and clarity of the image impresses throughout, it really pays dividends with the detailing in close-ups such as the overhead shot of Jay's hand as she plays with a plant (Chapter 3).

The film's natural colour scheme is also kept intact, helping to highlight bold splashes of colour – particularly Jay's red nail polish. And, unlike some other digital productions, the black levels here are rock solid, shrouding the action in deep shadows that threaten to unleash yet more horror on the screen.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: Outside of the sound of a window being broken off-screen (Chapter 5) and a few gunshots (Chapter 7), the film's sound design isn't particularly concerned with more traditional dynamic effects. Instead, the real muscle in the mix is the synth score by composer Disasterpiece (aka Rich Vreeland). Serving as both a homage to classic '80s horror films and an experiment in electronic music, it's as much a part of the film as the dialogue, occupying the entire soundstage with its relentless noises.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: Sadly, there's no input from writer-director David Robert Mitchell. Instead we have to make do with a repetitive chat-track by critic Danny Leigh and academic Mark Jancovich that may have benefitted from a little more preparation. There's also a short interview with Disasterpiece, a gallery of poster art and the trailer.
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: Scarily good picture and sound make it easy to overlook this Blu-ray's lacklustre extras

It Follows, Icon Home Entertainment, Region B BD, £18 Approx