It Follows

Among the many interesting reveals from Quentin Tarantino‘s recent wide-ranging interview was that he “really liked” David Robert Mitchell‘s indie horror hit It Follows. “It was the best premise I’ve seen in a horror film in a long, long, long time,” said Tarantino.

However, he continued, he had some problems with the premise’s execution: “It’s one of those movies that’s so good you get mad at it for not being great.” So how would Tarantino have made It Follows great? Read the Quentin Tarantino It Follows comments after the jump.

Tarantino revealed how he’d fix It Follows during his chat with Vulture. Be warned that major spoilers follow if you haven’t seen the movie.

He [writer-director David Robert Mitchell] could have kept his mythology straight. He 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.

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.

Tarantino’s right that It Follows seems to have some trouble sticking to its own mythology. The monster supposedly follows the victim without stopping, but sometimes it just hangs out in a theater or on top of a roof for no reason. And the violent turn “it” takes later in the movie is arguably at odds with its initial introduction as a slow but terrifyingly relentless source of death.

On the other hand, It Follows didn’t seem like it was trying to be perfectly consistent so much as creepy, and it’s pretty damn effective on that front. In an earlier, unrelated interview with Vulture, Mitchell revealed how he came up with the monster’s various forms. “When I wrote those scenes where we see different forms of the monster, I tried to just think about what was troubling to me in each of those situations,” he said.

So while, say, a naked woman stomping across an empty field might not be the most subtle manifestation of the monster, it makes for a hair-raising visual in the moment. And for what it’s worth, Mitchell is totally aware that the plan at the end makes no sense. “It’s the stupidest plan ever!” he laughed in that same interview. “It’s a kid-movie plan, it’s something that Scooby-Doo and the gang might think of, and that was sort of the point.”

Tarantino additionally took issue with Jay’s refusal to sleep with Paul, thereby passing the monster to him.

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.

Having sex with Paul might have been the more practical decision for Jay, but on an emotional level her reluctance makes sense. Throughout the film, the monster haunts her in a way she clearly wouldn’t wish upon her worst enemy. Of course she wouldn’t be eager to pass it on to a close friend. Especially considering — if I’m remembering correctly — Jay’s last sex partner Greg has already been fallen victim to the monster at that point.

All of this isn’t to say It Follows is a perfect movie, or that Tarantino’s quibbles with it are somehow invalid. It just sounds like his interpretation of the movie is different from Mitchell’s, and it’s interesting to consider how Tarantino might have tackled the same premise.

For even more from Tarantino, including about stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with It Follows, click over to Vulture.

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