It Follows was possibly the best horror film I’d seen in 2015. There are many others that could be considered honourable mentions, including the only one to compare to It Follows, The Babadook (which was technically released in 2014). But one thing that It Follows has that no other horror film of last year did, is the incredible score I’m about to discuss.
It Follows is a fascinating film that feels like it was made in the ’80’s, but was released only last year.
Richard Vreeland (or Disasterpeace) was known for the score of Fez, and in fact, it was because of that score and Vreeland’s way of distorting his background of chiptune into an 80’s type of synthesizer, that he got the job on It Follows. Director David Robert Mitchell contacted Vreeland and asked him to make the score for his film. As It Follows has this classic John Carpenter feel, it makes sense that the film needs a score that sounds like one Carpenter would have composed himself.
Right from the opening scene, with the opening track “Heels”, David Robert Mitchell has transported us into the 80’s.
As the film begins, we already are surrounded by this dread; this fear of what’s not seen. Something that is hiding outside the frame as the music just tightens the tension. At just under thirty seconds into the song, when the synth kicks in, it makes you all the more uneasy.
Once you’re aware of what type of movie you’ve walked into, the score and film introduces us to Jay, the woman we are about to follow, and about to see get followed.
The song is short and simple. It allows our introduction to Jay to happen casually. We see her with her sister and her sister’s friends (who are around so often that she’s close to them as well).
During “Old Maid”, we get the call back to the opening track “Heels”, and it’s here when Jay is aware of the issues she’s about to encounter throughout the film and beyond. Old Maid is the card game that they are playing when Jay is driven back, and the reason for that is simple. The only way to win in Old Maid, is to discard the Old Maid card (or pass it around), and make sure you don’t have it. The game, and the song, become the whole theme and point of the film. When being chased by this monster, this creature that will never stop coming after you, your only goal is to make them chase someone else. But even if that’s done, it will come back to you because, as the final track lets you know, it’s never over. Even as the song appears to end, and becomes quiet, it returns, as it’ll always be there, lingering somewhere in the distance, coming after you.
Also, the actual LP of the soundtrack is gorgeous. Entirely irrelevant but wanted to mention it regardless.