‘It Follows’ is a 2014 horror film about a murderous entity that relentlessly stalks its victims. Its curse seemingly spreads through sexual intercourse, and the unsuspecting victims then unexpectedly find themselves followed by grotesque figures. The film has garnered widespread critical acclaim and, despite its supernatural plot, has been described as reflective of modern-day issues. So could ‘It Follows’ be inspired by a true story? Let’s find out.
Is It Follows Based on a True Story?
No, ‘It Follows’ is not based on a true story. The film is written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, who based it on a recurring nightmare he would have as a kid. In it, much like the characters in the movie, he would be chased by an entity that looked like different people and relentlessly followed him. The idea for the curse to be passed on through sex came to Mitchell as an adult, many years later. Interestingly, the idea for the film came from two separate phases of the writer director’s life.
The film creates its signature surreal feel using some very eclectic filmmaking and narrative choices, most of which were carefully planned out by Mitchell. There is an overwhelming focus on ambiguity, and the film uses a mix of vintage and modern backdrops to make it impossible to pin it to a specific time period. A similar strategy is seemingly used in the wardrobe choices as characters are seen in both summer and winter attire within a matter of hours.
According to Mitchell, the film’s setting is a mixture of universes that depicts a world we don’t live in. This is at least partly motivated by his objective of intentionally keeping the film open to different interpretations. But perhaps what makes the movie so effectively unsettling is the unexpected ways in which it becomes very accurate to real life. Mitchell steps away from regular horror movie tropes where the protagonists happen to find a hidden weakness of their tormentor during the climax. In ‘It Follows,’ their big plan to defeat the entity is poorly thought out and is meant to signify what one would do in a panic while not thinking logically.
The fact that the curse spreads through sexual intercourse has also been a point of discussion about the film and the filmmaker has mentioned how he explores the idea that love and sex are two ways through which people can (briefly) push death away. However, the focus is again on ambiguity as that is just one of the many interpretations of the film. It is worth noting that even though Jay saves herself (for the time being) by having sex with Paul, she also got cursed because of sex. Once more, it is left up to the audience to decide the significance of one of the film’s central themes.
‘It Follows’ is a completely fictional work inspired by the nightmares of the writer-director and motivated by his goal to make a film about anxiety and dread. The film offers minimal details and intentionally creates a surreal environment to transport audiences into a world where they are as clueless as the protagonists. It also purposely leaves much of its narrative open to interpretation and therefore continues to conjure up horrific images in the viewers’ minds much after it has ended. Far from being based on a true story, this film masterfully inspires its viewers to use their imaginations to fill in some of its most disturbing parts while never really specifying what actually happens.
Read More: Where Was It Follows Filmed?