Friday, July 5, 2024


IT FOLLOWS (2014) d. David Robert Mitchell (USA)
THE BABADOOK (2014) d. Jennifer Kent (Australia)

10 years ago, a pair of horror films exploded onto the scene, both from independent writer/directors not known for genre fare, both displaying exceptional visual confidence and storytelling skills, and both layered with multiple levels of metaphor and symbolism spicing their genuinely unnerving and clean mythologies. Critics and audiences celebrated this one-two punch of intellectually stimulating and emotionally gut-wrenching fright flicks, subtly shifting the terror landscape forever.

Set in a suburban Detroit teenage wasteland of an indeterminate era, Robert David Mitchell’s It Follows turns a by-the-numbers coming-of-age indie feature into a chilling campfire yarn: Sleep with the wrong person, and a nameless, unrelenting, shapeshifting Thing will pursue and destroy you… unless you pass on the curse to someone else. And if they don’t pass it along soon enough, the curse comes back to you.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Australian writer/director Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook offers up a character study of a troubled widow wrestling with her own mental and emotional stability as well as that of her seven-year-old son, a struggle exacerbated by a malevolent presence invoked by the appearance of a mysterious children’s book.

This well-crafted tale of haunting secrets and psychological breakdown superlatively amps up the chills from its opening act through its climax, with an expertly cultivated atmosphere of dread making up the middle.

With extraordinary production and sound design, musical scores, cinematography, and editing, as well as a mutual uncanny knack for escalating tension and release, these two modern-day classics are the rare beasts that live up to the hype, announcing their creators’ as deserving of their rightful places within the hearts of the horror faithful.

Tonight we celebrate The Class of 2014, a haunting pair of psychologically stunning and genuinely frightening efforts, guaranteed to provoke spirited conversation and contemplation hours, days, weeks, and even years after the final credits roll.

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