Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

disk/ It Follows movie review

 
Feb. 28 Disk: On Feb. 18, 2015 my Memorex blue 3.5 floppy disk stopped working.  I bought this back in 2002.  I will give it points it lasted 13 yrs.  Now I will recycle this disk at Staples.
 
Calculator: While I’m at it, I will recycle my calculator.  The equal sign doesn’t work.  The equal sign rubber button doesn’t work.  You can still get an equal if you press the plus sign button.  I might as well recycle it.

Mar. 29 It Follows movie review: I cut out this article “Supernatural killer will scare you witless” by Chris Knight on Mar. 28, 2015.  I got these emails promoting this film because of my blog.  I saw the trailer and it looked pretty good.  This movie was given 5 stars by Knight.  Here’s the whole article:

There’s a filmmaking lesson to be found in the title of this supremely effective horror from writer/director David Robert Mitchell; one that applies to all genres. Simply set up an effective and arresting premise, then let the plot play out by the rules you’ve created. Successful storytelling? It follows.

The film’s basis is simple: What if the D in STD stood for Demon? That’s what Jay (Maika Monroe) discovers after the first time she has sex with her new boyfriend (Jake Weary). What’s transmitted isn’t a disease but a kind of condition, apparently uncureable.


As the boyfriend explains (shortly before he disappears; seems he only wanted her for one thing), Jay is now being tracked by a relentless, supernatural killer. Only its victims can see it. It can look like anyone, friend or foe or stranger. It will walk calmly toward its prey, but it will never stop. Imagine a medium-speed zombie, but fixated only on you.

If it kills her, it will then go after the now-missing boyfriend. Her only hope, he tells her, is to pass it along to someone else and hope they do likewise. So there’s an element of another old terror staple, the chain letter. Send it to someone else, or something bad will befall you.
 
Maika is at first skeptical, but several near brushes with the thing convince her it’s for real. She enlists the aid of her sister (Lili Sepe), her torch-carrying pal Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and the neighbourhood ne’er-do-well (Daniel Zovatto), who among other things has a car and access to a cottage outside the city.

Such a simple storyline would suggest — perhaps even invite — a similarly unexceptional filming style, but part of what makes It Follows so beguiling is the care and craft that went into it. Fashions and vehicles suggest a 1980s setting, and the characters watch even older movies on TV, but there are modern elements as well; Jay’s sister is reading Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot on an e-reader that looks like a makeup compact.

Then there’s the sound design, ranging from near-silence to freight-train and wind-tunnel noises that practically assault the listener. The score, meanwhile, is an electronic mix that sounds as though the Vangelis music from Blade Runner had been remixed by the team behind The Shining – or perhaps by the ghosts from The Shining.

The weirdness continues with the cinematography, which includes the occasional handheld (and one wheelchair-held) camera, but mostly involves rock-steady, wide-angle shots that have us peering into the distance to try to glimpse something we know is out there, coming.
 
Monroe is an appealing audience surrogate, adding to the list of strong female characters in horror films of late. (See also The Babadook, The Cabin in the Woods and last year’s thriller The Guest, which coincidentally also starred Monroe.)

Frightened yet resolute, she’s trying to reason her way out of this mess while rebuffing the virginal Paul, who offers to receive the curse from her – a sacrifice with benefits, as it were. For once, the age-old horror-movie metaphor of sex=death is played straight, without winking or irony.

All of this takes place in the interstices between urban, suburban and rural Detroit, a city with many a dark, uninhabited space in which a demonic sprite — or its intended victim — can hide. The ghost-town boulevards add to the film’s sense of dreamlike disconnection.
 
It’s worth mentioning a particularly disconcerting image, in which Jay’s follower, having assumed the body of a giant, unfolds its body like a lawn chair and clambers into her room from behind a friend who’s oblivious to its hulking presence. I don’t like horror films as a rule, but the ice-cube-down-the-back shiver I got from this scene convinced me to watch this one twice. I wanted to follow it, too.

 

David Mitchell: There is an interview with the It Follows filmmaker.  It’s called “Superbly creepy film based on a nightmare” by Chris Knight on Mar. 28, 2015:

David Mitchell suffered from a recurring nightmare as a child. It was simple yet terrifying; he would see a figure walking toward him from far away. “I knew this was some kind of a monster that was coming to hurt me.”

He could run from it. He could even walk from it. “It wasn’t hard to get away from it,” he says. “But I knew deep down that it was always walking closer.”

Mitchell, 39, hasn’t had this anxiety dream for years now. But others may start to, thanks to his new film, It Follows, which takes its chilling premise from those long-ago night terrors.

It Follows stars Maika Monroe as Jay, a young woman haunted by a creature that literally won’t stop until it catches and kills her. It can look like anyone, so Jay must fear the approach of strangers and friends alike.

Oh, and somehow she “caught” this demon through a sexual encounter. That wasn’t part of Mitchell’s nightmare, but “at some point I started adding to it, connecting it to something that can be passed on through sex,” he says. It was a way of connecting characters physically and emotionally.

It’s a simple premise, which might be why it works so well. Twenty-one-year-old Monroe, who also appeared in the thriller The Guest last year, also helps sell the concept. Mitchell says he knew she was right from their first meeting.

“It’s up to Mika, in those moments when these crazy things are happening, that we really believe this character exists,” he says. “It would be so easy for it to fall into B movie territory where it’s just screaming. And she has that. She can do the soft, subtle, gentle performance that a lot of the film needs, but then also take it to these crazy, chaotic places. And we go with her.”

Mitchell is a fan of the horror genre. “Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of my favourites,” he says, and also lists John Carpenter and David Cronenberg as influences. But the film has resonated even among non-fans, this writer included.

“I’ve heard that from a good number of people,” Mitchell confirms, “connecting to this even though they don’t like horror.”

Part of that no doubt stems from the sympathetic main character. But Mitchell, whose first feature was the critically acclaimed The Myth of the American Sleepover in 2011, put a lot of careful craftsmanship into It Follows.

To begin, he selected production design elements from a few different eras. So there’s a 1980s vibe, especially from the vehicles, “but there are some modern things as well. To me it’s a little bit outside of time.”

The score, too, refuses to stay still: “It moves back and forth between beautiful melodic pieces and things that were sort of musical controlled noise at some level, and it reaches points of being nearly an assault.” He cites Blade Runner as an inspiration on that.

“And not just music but the sound design beyond that,” he notes. “We put a lot of energy into crafting really small sounds in the film. There are really delicate moments: a little bit of wind here; the sound of a lamp.”

Then there’s the cinematography, which is unusually calm for the genre; here Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is raised as yet another inspiration. Mitchell would often choose a lens with a wide field of view, he says, “to suggest to the audience that you should be looking in the background.” Fittingly, that feeling may even follow people out of the cinema after a screening of this superbly creepy film.


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