20 Socially Conscious Horror Movies

3 of 21

It Follows (2014)

The Issues: Sex

The Movie:

There’s some debate around this one, as some critics have viewed it as having archaic views on sex. That’s up to you to decide, but it’s certainly worth a mention.

A young woman runs out of her home into the street and drives away to the beach. She gets a phone call from her worried father and tells him she loves him. The next morning, her body is lying mangled in the sand.

Jay (Maika Monroe) is on a date with a guy named Hugh at the movies. Hugh points out a girl that Jay is unable to see, then becomes afraid and insists that they leave. They have sex in his car and then he drugs Jay with chloroform. She wakes up tied to a wheelchair as Hugh frantically explains he’s been pursued by an entity that only he sees, that takes whatever form it chooses. He had the entity tracked onto him via sex, so now he’s passing it on to Jay. A naked woman is walking towards them and they flee.

Jay reports the incident to the police who are unable to track down the naked woman or Hugh, who was using a fake name. She starts to see people walking towards her that no one else can see.

Jay and her friends head to a lake house outside town where they teach Jay how to shoot a gun. The entity appears and Jay shoots it, but it recovers. She takes a car and leaves, only to crash the car and break her arm. At the hospital, Jay has sex with her friend Greg who doesn’t believe in the entity (and maybe also just wanted to have sex). Later, the entity comes into Greg’s house and kills him.

Jay escapes and goes to the beach, where she sees three young men on a boat. She undresses and gets in the water, possibly (but not shown) to have sex with them and get more degrees of separation between her and the entity.

Her friends decide to lure the entity into a swimming pool where they can electrocute it. They trap the entity and shoot it under the water and the pool fills with blood. Jay has sex with her friend Paul and they walk down the street hand in hand, with someone walking behind them.

What It’s Saying:

Is the entity supposed to shame women for having sex? Is it a metaphor for HIV or other sexually transmitted infections that could ‘follow’ you forever? Or is It Follows a progressive look at all the ways people use sex — as self-defense, as a weapon, or just for pleasure? Your mileage may vary on this one.