It Follows

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
It Follows Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Masterful, mature horror movie deals with teen sex.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie subtly tackles teen sex as a theme, painting it as less magical, mysterious, and transformative than it may seem. But what it actually does say is open for interpretation; no clear messages as to what teens should -- or shouldn't -- do. Teens do attempt to work together to solve problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults are only marginally glimpsed in this movie. Teens must help themselves, and they don't always make the wisest choices.

Violence

Dead body, with one leg twisted and bent forward. Characters die. A teen boy knocks out a teen girl with chloroform-soaked cloth. She wakes, tied to a wheelchair. Teens shoot a gun to try to kill the monster. Characters are accidentally hit. Blood is shown. Blood billowing in the water of a swimming pool. Car crash. Girl with broken arm. Very frightening images.

Sex

The monster sometimes appears as women with naked breasts exposed or as a naked man (full frontal, from a distance). Teens must have sex in order to stop the monster. A teen girl (the main character) has sex with three different partners. The monster appears to be having sex with a victim. Teens kiss. (Fake) porn magazines (Playpen) are shown. Prostitutes are shown.

Language

At least one use of "f--k," plus a few uses of "s--t"/"bulls--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two teens smoke pot. Teens are seen carrying a six pack of beer to a "date" by a lake, but they're not shown drinking. A teen girl checks out a bottle of prescription pills but doesn't take any.

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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnneBlythe November 1, 2018

Constant nudity with poor acting and little plot

Naked teens have sex. Teens smoke and Drink. Teens are followed. Teens die. Full frontal nudity. Repeat cycle. Pointless, weird film that was not really scary i... Continue reading
Adult Written byCaringMommy1981 November 9, 2018

Wonderful Allegory

This movie seems to be an excellent allegory for the plight of teenagers against STDs. I mean think about it: "Young people, between the ages of 15 to 24,... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 4, 2020

Not as bad as it seems

I've watched like so many R rated films so I'm used to this stuff, so dont think your allowed to watch this film just because a 12 year old is doing t... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byalwaysreviews February 2, 2020

Scary, Smart, and Slow Paced

What a crazy concept. Another fascinating horror film that I’m ridiculously late on. But, you know what they say, better late than never. It follows is a really... Continue reading

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 Followsviolence. 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?

Movie details

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