At this point, It Follows is still one of my favorite films of the year. In fact, it might be the 2015 release I’ve watched and re-watched more than any. The core concept of someone contracting a sexually transmitted disease in the form of a human-looking evil entity that follows you until it kills you or until you pass it on to someone else is absolutely genius, and Quentin Tarantino thinks so, too. Check out what he told Vulture about the movie:
“It’s one of those movies that’s so good that you start getting mad at it for not being great. The fact that he didn’t take it all the way makes me not just disappointed but almost a little angry.”
“[Director David Robert Mitchell] broke his mythology left, right, and center. We see how the bad guys are: They’re never casual. They’re never just hanging around. They’ve always got that one look, and they always just progressively move toward you. Yet in the movie theater, the guy thinks he sees the woman in the yellow dress, and the girl goes, “What woman?” Then he realizes that it’s the follower. So he doesn’t realize it’s the follower upon just looking at her? She’s just standing in the doorway of the theater, smiling at him, and he doesn’t immediately notice her? You would think that he, of anybody, would know how to spot those things as soon as possible. We spotted them among the extras.”
Next up, he dove into the lack of clarity regarding what the “its” are actually capable of:
“The movie keeps on doing things like that, not holding on to the rules that it sets up. Like, okay, you can shoot the bad guys in the head, but that just works for ten seconds? Well, that doesn’t make any fucking sense. What’s up with that? And then, all of a sudden, the things are aggressive and they’re picking up appliances and throwing them at people? Now they’re strategizing? That’s never been part of it before. I don’t buy that the thing is getting clever when they lower him into the pool. They’re not clever.”
Next he took issue with Keir Gilchrist‘s character, Paul:
“Also, there’s the gorgeously handsome geeky boy — and everyone’s supposed to be ignoring that he’s gorgeous, because that’s what you do in movies — that kid obviously has no problem having sex with her and putting the thing on his trail. He’s completely down with that idea. So wouldn’t it have been a good idea for her to fuck that guy before she went into the pool, so then at least two people could see the thing? It’s not like she’d have been tricking him into it. It’s what I would’ve done.”
I’ll give Tarantino credit where it’s due. Yes, Jay (Maika Monroe) should have slept with Paul before the big pool showdown because it would have given them a much-needed advantage, but why is it so hard to believable that Jay wasn’t ready to subject Paul to what she was going through? She even says at one point, she passed it on to Greg (Daniel Zovatto) because she thought he could handle it. Clearly he couldn’t, so why would she then be so eager to pass it on to Paul?
I’m a big It Follows fan and could go on and on refuting all of Tarantino’s points, but what it comes down to is that it isn’t Tarantino’s film. Back in April, Mitchell said that the ending is “something that Scooby-Doo and the gang might think of, and that was sort of the point.” I love a good grand finale blowout where the hero comes up with a clever plan to take down the villain, but really, if you were in Jay’s shoes, would you be able to figure out what to do? To me, Mitchell’s approach to the obligatory third act battle feels far more honest than most.
As for Tarantino issue with Mitchell’s mythology, check out what Mitchell told me during our own interview back in March:
“… there’s a difference between the way I see it and the character’s interpretation of the events, so the rules within the film are the rules within the film. This is kind of a bit of a nitpicky distinction, but we understand what this monster is through one of the characters and he gives these rules to another character, but those rules are just things that he has figured out based on his own experiences and what he’s seen, and maybe what he’s heard from someone else – but unlikely if you hear the way he received it, if that’s true. And so, they’re not so much my rules. They’re this guy’s rules and he’s probably mostly right, but there’s a question of how accurate even he is.”
To me, that mentality and the fact that there isn’t some explicit campfire story that spells out all the details is much more interesting (and realistic) than keeping the mythology “straight.”
It’s not like Tarantino is going to go re-edit or remake It Follows, but the spark that lit the fuse in me was the title of Vulture’s article – “How Quentin Tarantino Would Fix It Follows.” Tarantino does offer some very specific notes about what didn’t work for him in the film, but saying that this is a proposal to “fix” the movie is a bit much.