It Follows

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

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 23 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

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.


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.


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.


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

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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
Parent of a 16-year-old Written byAbularab August 21, 2020
Teen, 13 years old Written bypillowduck May 5, 2021

Very clever movie with a sexually transmitted curse

Combine horror and health class and you get a masterpiece of a movie, It Follows. The monster is creepy, the suspense is always high, and the plot is 100% origi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytylerkell April 1, 2021

One Of My Favorite Horror Films, But It's NOT For Younger Kids!

I love almost every aspect of this film. The slow burn, the score, the cinematography, the humor, and the suspense. But this film obviously isn't for child... 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate