A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that It Follows is an indie horror movie with lots of buzz among horror fanatics. Teen sex is a major issue; the actors are in their early 20s, but the characters -- who discover that the only way to get rid of the monster is to have sex with someone and "pass" the monster to them -- could easily be in their late teens. Sex isn't mysterious or magical here (as it's often portrayed in movies when teens are involved), but it is extremely complicated, mirroring the confusing, conflicting way that sex ushers teens into adulthood. The main female character has sex with three different guys, but the only nudity involves the monster's various forms: Naked breasts are shown, and there's a shot of a full-frontally naked male. The movie is also very scary and violent: A mangled corpse is shown, characters die, teens fire a gun, and blood is shown. Language isn't constant but includes uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Two teens are shown smoking pot, and teens are shown carrying (but not drinking) cans of beer. If your teen loves horror, then he or she probably knows about this movie and will want to see it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the suburbs of Detroit, a group of friends is on the verge of adulthood, becoming independent and thinking about sex. Pretty Jay Height (Maika Monroe) has met a boy (Jake Weary) and decides to fool around with him. Afterward, he chloroforms her and explains that when they had sex, he passed on something to her: An evil being will now start following her. It can appear as anyone. It doesn't run and doesn't speak; it only walks, but it continues walking, directly toward you, until it finds you. Jay must not let it touch her, and the only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone else. She and her friends try to come up with ways to escape the monster -- or to thwart it. But the rules aren't nearly as straightforward as they sound.
Is it any good?
With his sophomore feature, writer-director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) has created an honest-to-goodness horror masterpiece. It draws from classical influences, mainly Halloween and The Thing, but it feels startlingly fresh. It's been a long time since horror fans were treated to a movie that used widescreen cinematography, physical locations (the Detroit area), and three-dimensional space in such a haunting way; this is the opposite of the usual shaky-cam, "found footage" stuff that currently dominates the genre.
Moreover, IT FOLLOWS delves into extremely primal themes, specifically the confusing, conflicting way that sex ushers teens into adulthood. Mitchell goes a step further by using water as a creepily fascinating metaphor, while the truly frightening musical score by Rich Vreeland (a.k.a. "Disasterpiece") goes to work on your nerves. It Follows is both scary enough to please horror fans and deep enough to inspire term papers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about It Follows' violence. How much is promised, and how much is actually shown? How does the presence of a gun change things?
What makes the movie scary? How does it compare to other horror movies you've seen?
How is teen sex portrayed in this movie? What ideas, thoughts, or feelings come up around the subject? What message does it send to have sex so tied to a scary/violent subject? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How many adults are seen in this movie? What role do they fill? How do the teens solve problems? Do they work together? Do they ask for help?
- In theaters: March 13, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: July 14, 2015
- Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Jake Weary
- Director: David Robert Mitchell
- Studio: Radius TWC
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.