Monday, August 15, 2016

Stranger Follows

Before we watched It Follows (2015), we watched the first episode of Stranger Things (review to come, I guess). It was the perfect setup: both are tributes to and critiques of the classic era of 1980-1990s horror.

It Follows starts in classic form: A cute girl runs out of her house in her underwear. She flees to the beach, and soon, she's nothing but a mangled corpse. So that's the end of her story. The real story is about some of her neighbors, Maika Monroe and her small gang of buddies. Maika has a new boyfriend, and they have sex, even though he seems a little paranoid. Not to give too much away, he tells her the plot: that he is being pursued by a slow-moving but implacable monster, and the only way to escape it is to have sex with someone. The monster will then go after the partner: in this case, Monroe. She will have to have sex w/ someone else to pass it on.

This is an arbitrary yet effective premise. It leads to interesting strategies: It seems that the monster will come after you after it kills your partner, so if unless they pass it on quick enough, you've only bought time. But maybe it can be passed off fast enough to let you live out your natural lifespan. You can see how this setup is a metaphor for AIDS/STDs, but it's also a metaphor for life: Death follows us all, because someone had sex (your parents).

Since I'm not a horror movie fan (that's Ms. Spenser), I probably miss a lot. At heart, this is a character study, looking at this little group of kids in suburban Detroit. Keir Gilchrist as the nerdy guy who hangs out with the girls plays an interesting role. Whether this is common in the traditional horror movies, I can't say. The people next door to all this show up only once or twice, usually making out or getting high in their car. Their comment about our group of protagonists: "That family is so messed up."

In conclusion, not much of a body count, but seriously creepy.

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