[31 Days Of Horror ’22] Mini Reviews: It Follows (2014) and The Kiss (1988)

Mini Review
Day 13: ‘Catch Up’
It Follows (2014)

Next on the ‘Catch Up’ menu is It Follows (2014), it was on the list for 2020 but like with some others a burnout happened and it’s on the list for 2022. Since its release the film has been talked about and praised, it has been on that ‘to watch list’ since then and finally it has been watched. This is quite a unique film, from the score to the story to the coming of age element, there is a lot there and done in a different way.

The film follows Jay, (Maika Monroe) a late teen who lives with her mother and sister Kelly (Lili Sepe). She fancies a guy Hugh (Jake Weary) and after a few dates and some strange behaviour from Hugh, the pair have sex. By doing so Hugh has unleashed something horrible upon Jay that won’t give up until she is dead or she passes it on to someone else. The consequences are dire, what will Jay do?

Whilst the subtext of having safe sex and protecting yourself is very much there on the surface (Jay gets this ‘curse’ of sorts due to having sex), the film does go deeper. It examines Jay, where she is with life and the uncertainty for her future. Whilst at first her sister and friends don’t believe her, they still take care of her. There is a bond between the characters, they feel genuine individually and as a group. The growing relationship between Jay and childhood friend Paul (Keir Gilchrist) is a little janky but there is chemistry there. Everything is rounded off with friend Yara (Olivia Luccardi) having a clam shell phone and it is amazing. It Follows is an intense and frightening film, there are some truly haunting moments and one that will likely stay with the viewer.

Rating:

Mini Review
Day 14: ‘From the 1980s’
The Kiss (1988)

There are some films that had truly horrifying cover art that is remembered more so than the actual film. Growing up in the era of video rentals and VHS tapes, one cover always stood out to me and scared me whenever I looked at it and I was too frightened to ever watch the film. That film is The Kiss (1988), whose VHS cover art has stuck with me since I first saw it on the shelf and as an adult I figured perhaps it was finally time to see the film whose cover art haunted me.

The plot is a tad convoluted, it begins with the separation of two sisters Hilary (Pamela Collyer) and Felice (Joanna Pacula). It fast forwards to 25 years later and the sisters are estranged, Hilary is married with a teenage daughter and Felice is a fashion model with a terrifying secret to do with the family bloodline. After Hilary gets a call from Felice and she dies shortly after in a horrible accident. Months later Felice arrives at the home of Hilary’s husband Jack (Nicholas Kilbertus) and daughter Amy (Meredith Salinger). Felice shows much interest in Amy, who suspects something is wrong with her Aunt and as Felice moves in closer the dark secrets unravel.

The Kiss is an interesting film, the plot is thick, the tension doesn’t quite hit the right heights, the effects are well done and the pacing is all over the place. It is a mixed bag, where some story elements are interesting and they don’t go far enough to really engage. Other plot elements don’t add much to the story and tend to linger on for too long. There are some decent chills and fun moments with Joanna Pacula’s campy performance as Felice, as well as a very fun finale. Whilst the VHS cover art is far more terrifying than the actual film, I am glad I finally got to watch it.

Rating:

 

Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea

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