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MOVIE INFO

Director:
David Robert Mitchell
Cast:
Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe
Writing Credits:
David Robert Mitchell

Synopsis:
A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after getting involved in a sexual encounter.

Box Office:
Budget
$2,000,000.
Opening Weekend
$160,089 on 4 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$14,663,574.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 7/14/2015

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Film Critics Scott Weinberg, Eric. D. Snider, Britt Hayes, Samuel D. Zimmerman, Alison Nastasi and Eric Vespe
• “A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace”
• Trailer and Previews
• Poster Art Gallery


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


It Follows [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 7, 2015)

With a US gross of about $14 million, 2015’s It Follows turned a profit, as it cost a mere $2 million to shoot. The film enjoyed a bigger impact with critics, though, as it received nearly unanimous rave reviews. Those were enough to entice me to view it.

In a prologue, a young woman named Annie (Bailey Spry) flees her home and mysteriously winds up dead on the beach. From there we meet Jay Height (Maika Monroe), another young woman who goes on a date with her new boyfriend Hugh (Jake Weary). After they have sex, he drugs and abducts her.

When Jay awakens, Hugh relates a bizarre tale that he’s passed a curse to her. According to him, she’ll be followed and tormented by a mysterious entity unless she sleeps with someone and spreads it to that person. We view Jay’s journey as she deals with this supposed threat.

Usually when I write up a movie, I learn something about its plot before I watch. I might view a trailer or read a synopsis, but I almost always go into the film with some foreknowledge. I find this helps me organize my thoughts as I check out the flick.

In the case of Follows, I decided to avoid any pre-viewing research. I’d heard of the film, of course, and knew it had received plenty of good reviews, but beyond that, my knowledge of the tale was virtually zero.

Why do so? Because horror films can be affected by genre conventions more than others, I think. Granted, all forms of flicks come with their own “traditions” and tropes, but I think that horror sticks with the tried and true more than most, and that leads me to more preconceptions than otherwise might be the case.

This meant I thought it’d be interesting to go into Follows fairly blind. That’s usually tough – especially in terms of horror. If I get a zombie movie, that’ll almost always be implicit in the cover art or title. The same goes for all sorts of other horror efforts, but I think It Follows’s title leaves the story pretty vague, and the movie images I’d seen didn’t tell me anything. I knew there’d be some attractive young women in the film but beyond that, I remained in “clean slate” territory.

Did this decision pay off and make Follows more interesting than it otherwise might have been? Perhaps, but I took a look at the Blu-ray’s synopsis and the trailer and think they’re sufficiently vague enough that it wouldn’t have been “spoiled” for me if I’d seen them in advance.

Still, I enjoyed the chance to check out Follows without story-related notions, though I think my foreknowledge of its rave reviews affected my screening. When I know a movie has been lauded 12 ways to Tuesday, I go into it with expectations. While I like Follows, I don’t think it merits all the effusive praise it received.

On the positive side, Follows delivers a pretty subdued horror experience. Most modern films in the genre batter us over the head with schlocky “scare moments” and don’t allow us to think for ourselves. Follows manages to draw us into its tale slowly and creates a creepy, involving universe.

Unfortunately, some of its intentional vagueness can become a problem. As much as I appreciate the ways the movie leaves elements open for interpretation, this can become a distraction because the viewer may focus more on confusing elements than on the story itself. Personally, I found myself so preoccupied with “the rules” of the movie’s premise that I occasionally became detached from the narrative.

That remains a relatively minor issue, though, and I do really like the general lack of strident horror cliches. Follows shows clear influences from Stanley Kubrick and early John Carpenter, and it creates an obvious throwback to the 80s, often viewed as the greatest age of horror films.

Actually, that latter choice becomes one of the unfortunate distractions. The production design choices of Follows usually lead the viewer to believe it doesn’t take place in modern day. Kids watch clunky tube TVs and chat on landlines. They also sport fashions that don’t quite seem modern, like the unfashionably large panties Jay wears in one scene.

However, Follows doesn’t totally commit to this conceit. At the start, Annie calls her dad on a cell phone – granted, it’s a big one, not something a 2015 kid would own – and Jay’s friend Yara uses a funky seashell-shaped e-reader. Both nods to more modern technology are clunky enough that I guess we could buy them as 1990s gadgets, but they still seem somewhat out of place in the movie’s design parameters.

I admit I find myself a bit tired of filmmakers’ self-conscious nods to 80s horror. Writer/director David Robert Mitchell isn’t the first to pile on references to that era, and he does so more subtly than most, but I still think it’s a clumsy conceit. Other than as a method for the director to remind us of horror’s supposed heyday, the movie’s throwback setting serves no real purpose. It’s a cutesy touch that creates more distractions than anything else.

These nitpicky complaints aside, I think Follows works reasonably well most of the time. As I alluded earlier, I like the fact that it avoids the witless “scares” most modern films pass off for horror. We find precious few “boo moments”, as Follows prefers a more psychological bent. The audience gets to interpret most events for themselves.

And that allows this to become a mostly involving thriller. Follows creates a creepy setting that keeps us on edge most of the time. While I don’t think it’s a great horror film, it’s at least a solid “B”.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

It Follows appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer presented the film in an appealing manner.

Sharpness looked good. A smidgen of softness hit some wider shots, but those instances remained quite insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy. Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Follows went with subdued tones, as the movie tended toward an amber feel or a blue tint. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they weren’t supposed to be impressive, so they were fine for this story’s stripped palette. Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted. The image offered a “B+” presentation.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it lacked a ton of ambition, though I didn’t view that as a flaw. A story like this came heavy on ambience and light on opportunities for fireworks, so the absence of showy sequences failed to become a problem. Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and low-key effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way. Nothing dazzled but the mix seemed workable for the material.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects – as subdued as they tended to be – remained accurate and full-bodied. Music was vibrant and dynamic. While this was never a memorable track, it suited the story.

As we shift to extras, we start with an audio commentary from film critics Scott Weinberg, Eric. D. Snider, Britt Hayes, Samuel D. Zimmerman, Alison Nastasi and Eric Vespe. As he did for a similar track alongside Snowpiercer, Weinberg hosts the discussion. He brings in the others one at a time via the phone. The piece covers story/character areas, themes and influences, cast and performances, design choices, and the film's release.

The commentary delivers a reasonably good overview, though I admit I’d prefer a track that combined the critical perspective with more filmmaking nuts and bolts – or I’d like it more with just Weinberg on his own. He offers a nice array of comments and I think the inclusion of the other participants can make the piece a bit disjointed. This still turns into a fairly informative piece, though, so it’s worth a listen.

Next comes A Conversation with Film Composer Disasterpeace. In this four-minute, 56-second piece, composer Rich Vreeland – who works under the name “Disasterpeace” – discusses his career as well as the music he wrote for Follows. Despite the brevity of the featurette, Vreeland gives us some good notes.

A Poster Art Gallery presents five images. Actually, the last two are very similar, so we really just find four different advertising ideas. These can be interesting.

The disc opens with ads for Heaven Knows What and Snowpiercer. We also get the trailer for Follows.

Although I don’t think It Follows deserves the rave reviews it received, I do feel it offers an above average horror experience. While it comes with some flaws and odd choices, it gives us a mostly engaging tale that benefits from an unusual sense of subtlety. The Blu-ray boasts very good visuals as well as effective audio and a decent set of supplements. Follows becomes an effective work

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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