So as we’ve been dissecting, its probably become pretty clear which movie I liked more. Don’t Breathe, in my opinion, offers a more engaging story, has a better and well crafted atmosphere, a more relatable set of main characters, and a “monster” who has clearly defined motivations which all add to making it a thrilling watch. IT FOLLOWS had the grace of a interesting premise and a lot of fanfare leading up to its release, but ultimately fell short in terms of actually being scary.
PART 3: ESCAPE! and cliffhangers
But the lasting effect of a horror movie isn’t what it does to you in the theater, it’s what happens after you leave. A good horror movie stays with you, and ultimately keeps scaring you long after its over.
A movie like John Carpenters The Thing makes you wonder if you can really trust anyone who is close to you, and thats scary. A Nightmare on Elm Street makes you wonder what might happen to you while you are helpless and asleep, and thats scary. Texas Chainsaw Massacre makes you wonder if people are capable of that level of destruction and cruelty, and that is scary.
Don’t Breathe and IT FOLLOWS use their endings to leave the audience with a “what if” scenario. The main characters have gotten away and the events of the movie have passed, but something on screen tells us its not quite over yet.
Continuing the trend and starting with Don’t Breathe, it gives you a couple of “what if” scenarios. Could a home become a prison? What can cause a man to go insane? What would you do to escape the life you have? Those three “what if’s” alone set a pretty powerful mood for the audience to leave with after the credits roll. But I have to say that the cliffhanger ending was mostly just boring.
We end with our main character Rocky in the airport with her little sister. They got the money from the house, Rocky took her sister from their terrible mom and her boyfriend with swastika tattoos, and they are escaping to California. Yay! Happiness! Which they then turn over by having her look at a news report on TV saying that The Blind Man survived his injuries sustained while Rocky was escaping his house.
Its just lazy. I mean, news stories are a convenient way to display information, but they could have done it with much more grace. Show her paranoia by seeing shadowy figures lying just out of sight. Have her actively being wanted by the police for breaking and entering. Have her little sister ask her where she got the money just so we can see her fear flash back to her nightmarish time in The Blind Man’s house, something other than a lazy, wrap up, cookie cutter cliffhanger.
Moving on from that, IT FOLLOWS‘ ending is a bit different. And I know ive been hating on IT FOLLOWS a lot through these articles, and it’s ending is definitely a changing point in how I talk about it.
The ending of IT FOLLOWS made me absolutely loathe this movie with all of my soul. It was the worst part in a stream of not so great horror.
So the kids in IT FOLLOWS trap the monster in a pool and shoot it in the head. Big whoop, nobody cares. Then, after all of that, the nerdy boy and the main girl (Jay? who cares anymore) bone down something fierce. Why? Why are neither of them scarred by the very notion of intimate contact? Who knows, and you can bet the writer sure didn’t. Then, THEN, they have the audacity to show them wearing all white and holding hands while walking down the street, like some Virgin Mary purity horse shit. This symbolism would have worked if they had A) done anything in the movie, and B) Had ANY OTHER SYMBOLISM LIKE THAT throughout the movie. In a show of what I can only assume was a massive misunderstanding of how movies work, they just through this fucking “lost sheep from the flock” imagery right at the fucking last shot of the movie, then smash cut to black when you see someone walking behind them.
ooooooh, somebody was walking behind them, they might be being followed! No, nobody cares at this point. If you had kept with the paranoia, shame, and trauma of contracting a deadly STD, then this ending might have had a more lasting effect. Now, the only reason I remember it is the white hot hatred I feel whenever I think of IT FOLLOWS.
Don’t Breathe had the lasting effect of being a well crafted horror experience, and there was a lot that it gave you that you could think about after the fact. Hell, after I saw it I felt like going home and talking about it, and thats a cool effect for a movie to have. It was well thought out, well executed, and despite some minor opinions i have about it, I think it was a grade A horror movie!
IT FOLLOWS was sci-fi channel plot wrapped around a tragically interesting premise and marketed as the next huge thing in indie horror. Spoilers: it was the blair witch, it was trying oh so hard to be 80’s John Carpenter, and it never had a pace established to actually keep me interested.
I openly and unashamedly hate the movie IT FOLLOWS.
And that pretty much brings to a close this comparison! Obviously I have some pretty strong opinions towards one of the movies over the other, but if nothing else I hope you got to enjoy a dissection of some recent horror films, learned something new, and maybe even agreed with some of my vitriol.