As if teasing us with how he was disappointed in Scream wasn’t enough, now Quentin Tarantino has several critiques of this year’s critically acclaimed horror film It Follows, which was written and directed by David Robert Mitchell.
I want to preface this by saying that I loved It Follows but I’m well aware that it’s not a flawless film. Therefore, it’s fascinating to see what Tarantino thinks because, even if I’m not his biggest fan, I recognize how crafty and knowledgeable he is about making movies. Therefore, his words and thoughts carry weight.
Tarantino firstly lays out several of his complaints, stating:
[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.
I will admit that with repeated viewings this part definitely had some problems. The whole point of this “It” is that it keeps coming after you, never stopping, never tiring. Why would it stand in the doorway instead of walking down the aisle towards him? However, I don’t agree with Tarantino that he should immediately recognize “It” when it appears. The whole point of the film is that it’s about paranoia and uncertainty. To ask for the opposite of that goes against the fundamental foundation of the movie.
Another issue Tarantino brings up is the problem of how “It” evolves into a different type of beast as the movie progresses:
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.
This definitely was a problem. While “It” used tools to stalk its prey (think of using a rock to break the window to gain access to the house), in the beginning it never seemed to need the tools to actually finish off the victims. However, the way that I see this situation is that “It” became more and more frustrated with Jay constantly evading it. The usage of tools didn’t go from 0 to 100 in just one scene. It ramped up more and more as the film progressed, as the frustrations of “It” began seething and boiling over. I think that’s why the red in the pool is so wonderful, because it symbolizes the rage of “It” as, yet again, it’s delayed in getting Jay.
Lastly, Tarantino doesn’t understand why Jay wouldn’t sleep with Paul, explaining:
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 don’t agree with this viewpoint. It takes away the idea that Jay actually cares for Paul and wants to protect him, to ensure that he doesn’t have to go through what she’s experiencing. In my opinion, that’s something that adds to her character, something that makes her more likable and relatable. Her empathy and care for Paul makes her all the more human, which is so important when the antagonist of the film is so inhuman.
I get where Tarantino is coming from, I really do. But I simply don’t agree with a majority of them. I think this movie needs repeated viewings to see how everything interacts and expands. However, I love seeing people like Tarantino talking so passionately about horror. Hopefully one day he’ll make a real horror film and we can see what he’d bring to the table!
There is far more to read over at Vulture, so make sure to check out their interview with Tarantino.