IT FOLLOWS REVIEW

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IT SUCKS!

I’m sorry. I had to get that out of my system.

You should have seen me coming out of the cinema after viewing this.

So what’s it about? After a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, 19 year old Jay (Maika Monroe) finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her.

A tedious, dull, and horrific affair . . . for all the wrong reasons.

Now credit where it’s due. Writer/director David Robert Mitchell has a fresh premise at his fingertips.

Playing on teen fears and safe sex was a good little hook and when IT does appear, things do get a little tense and interesting. Weird but interesting.

It’s a shame that IT only appears for a total of 20-odd minutes in a 100 minute movie.

Rich Vreeland composed a fantastic haunting score that was nostalgic of the old school 80s horror flicks.

The creepy electro keyboard playing added much needed tension to this flaccid film.

The agonizingly slow opening sequence showed potential as we see an earlier victim desperately try to escape IT.

It did come off a little comical. I mean, she actually runs around in a circle. That is because IT is following her.

Irritatingly, we can’t see it. However, my interest was piqued.

BUT alas, we are left with Monroe (The Guest) moping around, faffing about in a swimming pool and staring at herself in the mirror.

I’m not kidding. Monroe must have spent a full minute of screen time staring at the mirror.

She plays the vulnerable female lead that was common in the old 80s horror flicks very well. I just wish her character wasn’t so dreary.

We are subjected to her droll relationship with Jake Weary’s Hugh. Things only really kick off when they get jiggy. No, not like that.

Before we know it, Monroe’s Jay is strapped in a wheelchair and given rules about IT.

IT WILL FOLLOW YOU. DON’T LET IT TOUCH YOU. DON’T GO IN A ROOM WITH ONE EXIT. YOU WILL SEE IT. IT WILL COME IN DIFFERENT FORMS.

You get the picture. Suspenseful, strange but engaging.

However, we get more mindless exposition, endless walking, driving and more talking.

This is all relieved by the sudden appearance of IT. Bizarrely in the form of a nude old person. WTF?

Or some demented giant? He looked like Carel Struycken from Twin Peaks.

What baffled me was how IT kills. Apparently in different ways.

Because the opening victim *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* was dismembered. What happens to another character was just plain weird. A sexed up version of The Ring. Without going into too much information. Demented.

The beach sequence was racy, tense and had me a little on edge.

IT finally making a proper impact. A clever little bit of special effects made for a surprise moment.

If only every scene was like that, I would have been satisfied.

The finale did get a little better with some well built suspense BUT the ending was terrible!

It just ended so abruptly and predictably. That’s the problem with these horror films. There’s only ever two outcomes and neither were going to be that rewarding.

BUT if the ride is worth the hype than it doesn’t matter.

A real shame after a couple of scary turns, this ride just strolls along to its stop.

Seriously, the conversations between Jay’s friends was just so monotonous. I could feel life (well, time . . . and patience) slipping away from me.

The only conversation that was worth noting was when they realise that IT can be passed through the activity of sexual intercourse. Fancy wording there.

If you were looking for a PR piece for safe sex then IT FOLLOWS would be perfect.

Keir Gilchrist’s (It’s Kind of a Funny Story) Paul was such a bland character. His constant lovesick puppy expression and drooling over Jay only suggested only one outcome for the poor boy. So predictable.

Olivia Luccardi’s character was one of the most useless and annoying friends going. I was praying for IT to come and get her.

All she did was moan, sleep, eat and scream. Textbook horror victim. I forgot her character’s name from all the excitement.

I am glad to see that people are going back to the classics and trying to rework that magic.

BUT you can’t just rip it off with bland characters, slow brooding shots and a haunting track. You need the suspense, the tension and the interest!

DISAPPOINTED? Not even close.

One of the most striking American horror movies in years? Compared to the drivel of the last few years. I can see that. BUT against the greats? Not even in the same league.

2/5

1 – for the premise

1 – for the scares that got me

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TOP 20 BEST FILMS OF 2014 * PART TWO

SO HERE WE ARE . . . AT LAST. The second month into 2015.

I know, terrible. For those who are still interested, we have the SECOND PART of my best films of 2014. The top 11-20!

Feel free to search through my posts for my top 10. If you want, I can provide them.

The best (or better) ones of that mediocre movie year. My criteria mainly focused on the ones that surprised, intrigued and entertained me. And boy, it was tough. Many have been watchable. Okay at best. What was harder was condensing my 20 WORST films of 2014 (Which will be following shortly).

BUT there were diamonds in the rough sea of bilge that polluted the movie screens last year.

I have had to endure endless entries of mindless drivel regurgitating the same old plot, clichéd characters (even in their 3D wrapped foils) and excruciating acting or dreadful dialogue and to be honest, it’s killed my enthusiasm a little bit.

Now some entries you may question and unfortunately release dates are always different. My argument was films I saw in that year at the cinema. Some may have been released at the end of 2013 but I didn’t see them until early January 2014.

BUT that sums up my argument if they are in here.

I won’t go on too much about each film. That’s what the other posts are for but a quick two cents if you like. Some I hope you will nod in approval. Others you may scroll back and forth hoping that this is a joke. BUT my criteria is based on surprise, entertainment and engagement. So God knows what lies in store.

11. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Now I am actually reading the book. This film lost marks for stretching out its source material to the max. However, Jackson still manages to deliver the goods by harvesting a special effects extravaganza of a movie. This slicker, darker installment made up for the lumbering opener that was An Unexpected Journey. The pace may still have been a little long at the tooth BUT was certainly the best in Jackson’s second trilogy.

12. Captain America: Winter Soldier

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A Marvel sequel that wasn’t needed but surprised me in surpassing the stuttery original. I felt the first Captain America was rushed to introduce the Cap in time for the Avengers and didn’t really cover as much of the WW2 elements as I had hoped. A superhero fighting in the war had a lot more promise for me. BUT the sequel had a decent story, good action pieces and added depth to the ‘Cap. Plus it gave a lot more screen time to the Black Widow and the legendary Nick Fury (At last!)

13. The Raid 2

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Fast and furious . . . after an hour of droll exposition. BUT it was still the most intense action film I saw that year. The final 45 minutes surpassed the original in suspense and action. Worth the wait. It may not have beat the original overall BUT other films need to use this as the next “How To Make An Action Movie” textbook.

14. St Vincent

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Bill Murray at his best in this easy going indie dramedy. It was funny, well acted with some cracking one liners and an impressive debut from young wunderkid Jaeden Lieberher.

15. Before I Go To Sleep

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A tense, slowburning but well crafted psychological thriller. Memento meets While You Were Sleeping. Even if I had sussed the big twist. The unveiling still took me by surprise. I thought the cast were fantastic. Kidman was on fine form and the last 15 minutes were brilliant.

16. The Maze Runner

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You read that, right? We had numerous teen book bestseller franchises flooding the screens. Divergent, Hunger Games, The Giver and . . . The Maze Runner. I went in, really expecting the worst and for the majority of the film, I was hooked. It’s hardly original but it zipped along and stopped me grumbling.

17. Nightcrawler

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A superb performance from Gyllenhaal. Deservedly earning a BAFTA nomination. Somehow managing to out-Bale Bale in this dark take on the American dream. Satirical, grim and engrossing. If a little predictable with an abrupt ending BUT still worth a gander.

18. The Guest

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Mr Crawley has left the Abbey and he’s kicking ass and taking names. A cracking and charismatic performance in this strange but riveting indie action flick. It felt like a film of two halves. Some may not like how it pans out BUT it certainly took me by surprise. Badass film of 2014? Hell yeah!

19. What If

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What if Harry Potter did an indie chick flick? It would be an easygoing and entertaining affair. That’s what. Radcliffe and Kazan had great chemistry and were a normal and believable couple. I actually cared what happened to them unlike the other umpteen romantic comedies that have wasted my time.

20. Blended

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I told you that I was going to think outside the box. I said surprised or entertained me. It has been a while since I have enjoyed a Sandler movie. And this says a lot from a die hard fan. Hardly die hard BUT I’ve endured them all. Blended certainly isn’t perfect but it felt like a return of sorts. It was certainly a return for Drew Barrymore. The plot is stupid and some gags fall flat on their backside.

BUT when it was funny, it had me in stitches. The family dynamic was dealt with well. The handling with the grief issues was done nicely and was unexpected. I enjoyed it. There’s still hope for the Sandler. I went in expecting nothing and was rewarded with something more. A good comedy. Hallelujah. Has the Mad Movie Ranter lost his marbles?

THE GUEST REVIEW

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This is one house guest you won’t want staying around. Crawley is back and kicking ass. Dan Stevens has definitely escaped from the dusty confines of Downton Abbey and boy . . . what a film to break the mould.

Stevens is incredibly charismatic and proves that he can handle the leading role with ease. He was one to watch after his turn as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey, but this performance will certainly put him on the map. However, it appears Hollywood have already clocked him with a supporting role in the new release of the Neeson crime showpiece, A Walk Among The Tombstones.

Now brought to you by the people who did You’re Next. When I read that, I dreaded what laid in store. I hated You’re Next. It completely flipped what I thought would be a solid slasher flick and turned it into a ridiculous farce. As soon as the opening credits of The Guest began with the highly elaborate overture that usually belonged to the 80s B-movie flicks, I was anxious. However, once Stevens flashed the pearly whites and unleashed that perfect American drawl, the anxiety dropped and a slow burning, suspenseful tension soon had me hooked as we try and decipher the intentions of the all too helpful lodger.

What’s it about? A soldier (Stevens) introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

A hint of A Shadow of a Doubt hovers over this indie action hit. In one moment, Stevens’ David works the charm offensive off every one in the screen, in the next he’s ready to destroy them. His unpredictability certainly makes for good viewing. However, one person isn’t buying it and that is Maika Monroe’s bizarrely dressed Anna Peterson. I don’t really pay attention to what people wear in movies but Monroe’s waitress stripper look was just strange and unattractive. The electro-infused soundtrack certainly made for interesting listening. Hypnotic at times but also balls-out random, which pretty sums up the movie and the finale in a nutshell.

The small cast play their parts well. Leland Orser’s (ER) frustrated feeble father, Joel David Moore’s pathetic pothead (Bones) and, scene stealer, Brendan Meyer’s Luke. Meyers delivered some of the better encounters with David. A tense encounter in a bar with some school bullies allows for cracking one liners and funny exchanges. Once Monroe seems to get over her sulking phases of having David in the house, she soon becomes a more interesting character. Especially with the fractious sexual tension inevitably blossoming between her and Stevens.

A little too much time is spent on the exchanges and glances that it slows the pace of the film down. However, the final 15 to 20 minutes came out of nowhere. The film goes in a completely different direction when Lance Reddick’s straight faced  (Fringe/The Wire) secret soldier creeps out of the woodwork. Now I think it will be down to the change in tide that will either make or break the film for people. For me, it made it so much better. For others, they may have preferred another route. Normally I am the latter. I’m staying cryptic because I want people to see this but it’s rapid, violent and balls-out (a lot of balls-out this time) reckless.

3.5/5 for me. Action packed, dark, funny, if a little long at the tooth in parts with an all out shoot em up and slightly abrupt finale. But not bad, not bad at all. Films aren’t testing me today.