Helmed by David Robert Mitchell, ‘It Follows‘ is a distinct horror film that revolves around a young man being followed by a mysterious entity. It follows a carefree teenager, Jay, and her boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), who have their first sexual encounter, but discover that Jay is the newest victim of a terrible curse that is passed from victim to victim through sexual contact. Jay learns that death will inevitably encroach upon her as a friend or a stranger. When Jay’s friends, who initially rebuke her claims, start to experience paranoid hallucinations, they start to believe her seemingly irrational rantings and come together to either help her escape or defend herself.
With a unique and engaging narrative driven by Maika Monroe’s compelling performance, the movie is a good pick for a night of spooky binge-watching. If you are looking for a good scare similar to the ones in this 2014 film, we’ve got you covered with several recommendations that will be great additions to your list. You can watch most of these movies like ‘It Follows’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Smile (2022)
Do not be fooled by the title of this Parker Finn directorial, as it is far from what its name suggests. ‘Smile‘ revolves around Sarah, a teen who downloads a mysterious social media app of the same name as the film’s title. Although this software satisfies her darkest wants, it comes at a terrible price: a vile and uncontrollable force starts hunting her and her friends. To save themselves, they must figure out the program’s mystery.
In both films, the nature of the threat is ambiguous and shrouded in mystery. In ‘It Follows,’ the antagonist is an entity that relentlessly pursues its victims, while in ‘Smile,’ the threat is an enigmatic curse tied to a social media app. Both films exhibit deliberate and suspenseful pacing, emphasizing a sense of impending dread. Directors Mitchell and Finn employ long takes and lingering shots to create an atmosphere of unease and a sense of impending dread in both stories.
7. The Ritual (2017)
‘The Ritual’ is a British horror film that revolves around four friends who come across an evil entity during a hiking trip. The David Bruckner directorial follows a group of friends who hike into the wildness of Scandinavia in memory of their recently deceased pal. But when they get lost in a dark, creepy forest that is home to an old evil force, their adventure takes a deadly turn.
Both narratives rely on the horror that remains mostly unseen, as the eerie element in the forest is kept hidden in ‘The Ritual,’ making it much more terrifying. Similarly, in ‘It Follows,’ the creature is invisible to most people and can assume anyone’s appearance, instilling a sense of paranoia. The aspect of group survival is also noticeable in both films as a group of friends have to save themselves from evil forces, relying on each other’s help, which also highlights the theme of friendship in both stories.
6. Don’t Knock Twice (2016)
Directed by Caradog W. James, ‘Don’t Knock Twice’ revolves around a mother’s attempts to reconcile with her daughter, which lead to some insidious events. The story follows In an effort to get back in touch with her estranged daughter Chloe, Jess, a disturbed mother, unintentionally awakens the evil supernatural being known as the “Knock Knock Man.” The movie follows their frantic attempts to escape the curse and survive as they encounter its terrifying effects.
Aside from featuring strong female leads, in both movies, the theme of consequences for one’s choices is explored. In ‘Don’t Knock Twice,’ an impulsive action (knocking twice on a rumored haunted house’s door) sets off the curse, which has disastrous results. Similarly, the curse is transmitted through a sexual encounter in ‘It Follows,’ and its characters must deal with the effects of their decisions.
5. Evil Dead (2013)
The fourth film in the ‘Evil Dead’ film series, ‘Evil Dead’ is a film directed by Fede Alvarez that focuses on a group of friends who come together in a remote cabin to support one of them in kicking a drug habit. However, they accidentally summon spirits when they come upon the Book of the Dead, which takes possession of them one by one and tortures them. Both films feature supernatural threats that defy conventional explanations. In ‘Evil Dead,’ the characters unwittingly unleash demonic forces when they read from the Book of the Dead, and in ‘It Follows,’ a curse is passed from one person to another through sexual contact, both a departure from the conventional horror tropes of exposition.
4. The Babadook (2014)
Directed by Jennifer Kent in her feature film debut, ‘The Babadook‘ is an Australian horror film that follows Amelia (Essie Davis), a widow who is battling depression and is also striving to raise her problematic son Samuel. Their lives take an unsettling turn when a spooky children’s book titled “The Babadook” appears to come to life and torments them with its presence, endangering their sanity.
Just like ‘It Follows,’ ‘The Babadook’ focuses more on psychological scares than on blatant gore or jump scares. By evoking a sense of dread and unease, they play on the audience’s concerns. The protagonists in both movies have to deal with an unavoidable threat, which raises the stakes in both stories significantly. In ‘The Babadook,’ the unrelenting presence of the Babadook haunts Amelia and her son. In ‘It Follows,’ Jay and her friends are hunted by a relentless force that may assume any form.
3. It Comes at Night (2017)
Directed by Trey Edward Shults, ‘It Comes at Night’ follows two families who seek refuge in a desolate home during a deadly plague but become increasingly paranoid about the presence of an unknown threat. Both films explore the breakdown of trust and the fear of the unknown in isolated settings. Both films mindfully keep some details ambiguous, as the origin of the virus and the exact nature of the danger outside the house are never fully revealed in ‘It Comes at Night.’
Similarly, in ‘It Follows,’ the supernatural entity’s beginnings and laws are still unknown. Both movies masterfully employ metaphors to draw attention to contemporary problems. While ‘It Comes at Night’ largely uses the post-apocalyptic setting to examine issues of trust, family, and the breakdown of societal standards, ‘It Follows’ uses its supernatural premise as a metaphor for the risks of STIs and the inevitable march of maturity.
2. Lights Out (2016)
Directed by David F. Sandberg, ‘Lights Out‘ is a supernatural horror film that centers on a menacing presence that can only be seen at night. The plot follows Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) as she investigates the haunting of her family by the entity that can only exist in the absence of light. She discovers that this entity has a sinister connection to her mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), who has a history of mental illness.
Both films have young female protagonists who have to deal with something sinister, largely relying on themselves. This makes the horror in both narratives more pronounced as the protagonists are quite unprepared to handle the situations they are caught up in. The fear of the dark is a key theme shared by both movies, as the monster only appears in ‘Lights Out’ when the lights are out, making darkness a terrifying setting. The curse in ‘It Follows’ keeps the characters on edge because they are afraid of the phantom thing that could arrive at any time, frequently in secluded or dark places.
1. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
Adam Robitel’s directorial debut, ‘The Taking of Deborah Logan‘ is a found-footage horror film that revolves around a documentary crew that discovers something ominous while filming a woman with Alzheimer’s disease for a documentary about Alzheimer’s sufferers. Both films examine the psychological horror that their characters experience quite noticeably. In ‘The Taking of Deborah Logan,’ the title character’s possession prompts a thorough examination of mental decline and identity crisis. In ‘It Follows,’ the idea of a relentless creature that can assume various forms appeals to existential dread and paranoia while emphasizing the psychological toll it exacts on its victims.
Read More: Best Horror Movies of All Time