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By Emily Booth, Friday 20th February 2015
The codes of horror are what make good horror work. The rules, the conventions and the stereotypes are critical to good storytelling, although decades of churning out the same codes and conventions means such films now fall into the category of cliché.
This is why the ‘rules’ of horror can only be used now if they are to make a postmodern comment on the so called ‘lessons’ being taught to us through the medium of scary stories – or if you like Grimm Fairy tales. Of course most people know the first movie to do this was Scream, gleefully reveling in the slasher rules a character must abide by if he or she is to survive a horror. Cabin In The Woods also took ‘survival horror’ to new and fun levels complete with final girl and stoner guy by adding a Truman Show element.
Now the next big thing in twisting the genre is It Follows out on February 27th. This is another one of those game changer horrors we’ll all be talking about in the weeks to come! If we go back, way back to the whole point of scary stories (Little Red Riding Hood etc) the whole reason for their existence was to warn children of the danger lurking out there in the real world. With that in mind, It Follows flirts with the rule “Teenage sex equals bad consequences!”
Now horror and sex go hand in hand, it drives the genre on so many levels, but this is possibly the first time the subject has been deconstructed so cleverly whilst at the same time still creating a fun and sexy (and at times) funny movie. (Perhaps Teeth (2007) is the only other movie that falls into this camp for its deconstruction of Vagina Dentata theory) It Follows boldly asks the question “Why is sex so scary?” The film follows 19 year old Jay who after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter realises she’s been ‘infected’ with some kind of sex demon that manifests as a horrific zombie creature only the infected can see. And here’s the killer catch, the only way to get rid of it is to ‘pass it on’ to someone else. ‘STD horror?’ – a new sub genre is born!
With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a cool Cannes Film festival nomination under it’s belt this has become a word of mouth cult hit which fans and critics alike are simply salivating over.
“A Horror fan’s dream come true” says The Telegraph
“2015’s must see horror” says Total Film
Directed by David Robert Mitchell this is, interestingly, only his second feature and his first foray into the horror genre, but he is so astutely spot on he simply must be a genre fan. He said of the film’s inspiration:
What I had in mind was some kind of a mental and physical chain that would connect people. By having sex with someone, you suddenly become linked to the people that person had sex with before. Of course, the title recalls sexually transmitted diseases that scare teens, like Aids. But it also could refer to Twitter, a network where followers and followed are connected without meeting each other in real life. (Taken from an interview in dazeddigital.com)
So a horror movie about the perils of teenage sex for the twitter generation. Lets just hope Tinder aren’t sponsors.
It Follows is released in the UK on Friday 27th Feb.
Next week I get nostalgic for Mad Science season’s climax Re-Animator!
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