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The Best of 2015 Thus Far

As we’re now well and truly past the half-way mark for the year, it seems like as good a time as any for a few of the Failed Critics contributors to bundle together and reveal which films they’ve enjoyed the most so far. Come December, we’ll still be running the annual Failed Critics Awards, giving you the opportunity to cast your vote for your favourite films of 2015.

In the meantime, let’s have a quick run through of what some of our writers and podcasters have chosen as their five favourite films of the year. Will the biggest film of the year so far, Jurassic World, be featured? Will United Passions somehow infect this article too? Will anyone pick anything other than Mad Max?? Find out below…


by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

1] Mad Max: Fury Road

mad maxFighting the urge to fill my word limit with just paragraphs of me repeating the words “Perfect”, “Awesome” and “The most fun I’ve had this year with clothes on”, I’ll try and be a little more cohesive in my description. It had been thirty years since the last film in the iconic Mad Max franchise, to bring a fourth entry to a series after that long is a massive undertaking at the best of times. But when its original star is as iconic as the film’s that made him famous, replacing him as well would be a recipe for disaster in any other filmmakers hands. Thankfully for all of us, the series’ creator made a triumphant return and gave us one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen. A breathtaking, visceral two hours (on three occasions) in the cinema left me shellshocked and shaking with excitement and almost unable to write my review when I got home I was so pumped. Oh, and there’s a dude on a truck made of drums and speakers playing heavy metal on a flame throwing guitar! No more needs to be said!

2] Ex Machina

3] Whiplash

4] Still Alice

5] It Follows

WORST: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Years of subtle hype and weeks of actual hype in the buildup to this, the biggest Marvel movie yet. What we got was a more than two hour long wet fart of a film that left me blindingly disappointed with a really bad taste in my mouth.


by Paul Field (@pafster)

1] Wild Tales

wild talesDark, twisted and utterly enthralling anthology from Argentina. All of the stories are great, no fillers here as is often the case with anthology films. I love a revenge film, and to have 6 served up in one sitting is a real treat. Hard to pick my favourite… the parking ticket is brilliant, the plane passengers unsettling and hilarious, the overtaking motorist caper that escalates out of all control…..but I think the Wedding. Pissing off the bride on her wedding day is an absolute no no, and here, she conveys her displeasure in spectacular fashion. As a first feature from Damián Szifron, this is outstanding and will take some toppling come the end of the year.

2] Hyena

3] Creep

4] We Are Still Here

5] Buzzard

WORST: Lost River Ryan Gosling believing his own hype, delivers the most pretentious load of cobblers ever committed to film. Utter, utter toilet.. and yes, I’ve seen United Passions, Accidental Love and the new Danny Dyer film this year too. Its worse than all three of those, on repeat, for eternity.


by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

1] Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

birdmanReleased in the UK on 1 January 2015, I still don’t think I’ve seen a funnier, more entertaining film in the cinema all year. Michael Keaton is absolutely phenomenal as the flailing former superhero movie star attempting to reinvent himself as a stage actor and producer. His manic behaviour, coupled with director Iñárritu’s frenetic, constantly adapting story shot as if the whole production was just one long take; I just loved every minute of it. However, I was hesitant to put it as number one on my list, given a couple people I’ve recommended it to have hated it! But ultimately, despite seeing it only two days into the year, nothing else has managed to better it yet for me.

2] Mad Max: Fury Road

3] Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

4] Cobain: Montage of Heck

5] John Wick

WORST: United Passions – Technically not even released in the UK this year, and unlike Jupiter Ascending (cinema) and The Man With The Iron Fists 2 (VOD), I didn’t even watch this legally. But if there’s a more abhorrent, reprehensible piece of offensive propagandist garbage with as high a budget and released globally within the next decade, I’ll be surprised.


By Matt Lambourne (@LamboMat)

1] Mad Max: Fury Road

mad max 4I’m still thinking about this movie, weeks after seeing it. The action, the character, the dialogue, the music and most importantly, the SCALE. It’s over the top in every sense and works for me on every level. I can’t wait to get hold of the home release and enjoy it without the hindrance of 3D. Absolutely superb movie!

2] American Sniper

3] Furious 7

4] Jurassic World

5] Terminator Genisys

WORST: Fifty Shades of Grey Bloated, tacky, overly polished and un-sexy. I didn’t get an erection and I didn’t get a shag that night.

by Steve Norman (@StevePN86)

1] The Theory of Everything

theory of everythingThe Stephen Hawking biopic earned lead man Eddie Redmayne an Oscar and deservedly so. His portrayal of a genius of a man going through various stages of a terrible, life changing illness was extremely believable. The film also put over a side of Hawking you don’t often see, the friend, parent and husband, not the man who invented time. Or something.

2] Ex Machina

3] Kingsman: The Secret Service

4] Selma

5] Furious 7

WORST: United Passions Garbage of the highest order. I found Tim Roth less deplorable playing a racist in Selma than I did playing Sepp Blatter in this tripe. It’s offensive that it was even made.


by Callum Petch (@CallumPetch)

1] Mad Max: Fury Road

mad max fury roadFury Road is the kind of film whose existence is a reminder that this Movies thing might be alright after all, a beacon of hope that we can all look to in dark times and remind ourselves that we can, in fact, have it so much better.  From its uncomplicated story, to its unique world and set design, to its outstanding special effects, to its jaw-dropping practical stunts, to its brilliantly subtle Tom Hardy performance, to its mesmerising Charlize Theron performance, to its openly and furiously feminist and matriarchal heart, every last frame of this utter masterpiece is what I have heard perfection is supposed to be like.  It is everything that modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking isn’t, a purposeful pushback against everything wrong with those films right now that, in a just world, will have everyone following its example in the years to come.  Both times that I saw this movie, my veins pulsed with pure adrenaline from frame one and the feeling did not stop until long after I left the screen in tears of pure joy at that perfect final shot.  I foresee nothing else coming anywhere close to it for the rest of this year, mainly cos I have no idea what’ll happen to me if there is a better film than Fury Road to come.

2] Magic Mike XXL

3] The Voices

4] Shaun The Sheep Movie

5] Spy

WORST: Entourage  I said everything I needed to say about this reprehensible piece of abysmal shite here and here.  I’m not going to repeat myself.

US Box Office Report: 19/06/15 – 21/06/15

When dinosaurs ruled the box office, Inside Out/Inside Win, people sadly Just Say “Nope” to Dope, Manglehorn gets mangled, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Before we move on, a brief apology and correction.  Last week, we reported that Jurassic World had scored the second-highest opening weekend of all-time at the domestic box office with $204 million.  Well it turns out that we misreported those numbers and I would like to apologise for that.  Jurassic World actually made $208 million and is, therefore, actually the highest grossing opening weekend of all-time domestically.  The Avengers has, in fact, been dethroned.  In my defence, I can only work from the estimates, since the actuals don’t come in until late-afternoon on a Monday and I have sh*t to do then, which is why these get written on a Sunday night.

Hence why I don’t want to make any definitive statements regarding Jurassic World’s box office performance this weekend, record-wise.  Whatever happens, it is finishing in first place, but the box office records are what’s in contention.  Currently, the film is sat on $102 million for its second weekend, which puts it almost exactly $1 million below The Avengers’ record-breaking second weekend, but the numbers are so close that, and since Universal under-estimated last weekend, there is every chance that Jurassic World’s actuals will push it higher than The Avengers after all.  It’s already a pure and total unstoppable juggernaut that will pass $400 million domestic by lunchtime, so it’s not like this is much of a stretch.  Just saying, if it does happen, you can’t say I got it wrong, cos I’m not definitively saying anything!  So there!

What will be indisputable, unless some kind of catastrophic error causes 15 million bucks to mysteriously go missing between now and the actuals coming in, is the success of Inside Out, which now holds the record for the biggest domestic opening weekend ever for a non-sequel non-adaptation, taking the title from Avatar’s $77 million opening weekend back in December of 2009.  I mean, technically one could argue that it does count as a sequel in the sense that it’s a part of the Pixar brand that might as well be a franchise unto itself by this point, but I’m just going to block that out and savour this Avatar-crushing moment.  Aaaaaahhhh… that feels good.

Unfortunately, all this wantonly spent cashola had to skip out on one of the week’s releases, and that poor sod ended up being the Sundance hit Dope, which bravely launched on 2,000 screens but could only manage $6 million for fifth place because, well, it went up against Pixar and dinosaurs.  I applaud the bravery of Open Road Films for putting a black film out there as an option for mainstream audiences, but they were never going to win this one.  Similarly failing to lift off, albeit in limited release, was the new David Gordon Green film, Manglehorn.  Even with Al Pacino apparently deciding to try this whole “acting” thing again to see what that was like, the film couldn’t really get butts in seats, possibly due to mediocre critic reviews, and it only made $13,000 from 3 screens.  But, hey!  This should hopefully not discourage Al Pacino’s decision to start acting again!  Last thing we need is him crawling back to Adam Sandler.

Fun Fact: I have seen all of Jack & Jill but only one Alfred Hitchcock film in the 20 years I have lived.  Why on earth do you people listen to what I have to say?


jurassic world 1

I don’t actually have any witty segway pun for this Full List, since I’m trying to stay dark on Inside Out.  So, here’s the thing, then, I guess.

Box Office Results: Friday 19th June 2015 – Sunday 21st June 2015

1] Jurassic World

$102,019,000 / $398,230,000

I think I am the only one of my Internet friends – cos I don’t have real friends with the exception of Lucy (*cries profusely*) – who actually likes this, which is always a good thing to have happen when you’re constantly paranoid that what you do and feel is wrong and that you’re bad for doing and feeling those things.  It’s especially more so in this case since, well, Jurassic World is actually a pretty terrible film, yet I like it anyway.  I dunno, maybe I’ll someday get lucky and not be so self-conscious.

2] Inside Out

$91,056,000 / NEW

Staying as in-the-dark as possible until it drops here at the end of next month, since this and Minions have basically swapped places on the release calendar for the UK.  I’m hoping that this will be as good as critics are saying… but critics also gave Monsters University a seal of quality and that was a massive disappointment, so Pixar are still on my Warning List for now.

And, yes, I am aware that a trailer has dropped for Kung Fu Panda 3.  Don’t send me it.  If I’m keeping myself in the dark for a film that I’m honestly not that excited for, then why do you think I would want to watch the trailer for a film that I am on tenterhooks for?

3] Spy

$10,500,000 / $74,374,000

So I feel like I’ve been acting a lot like Jason Statham in Spy whenever the subject of The Peanuts Movie is brought up for whatever reason.  Just me constantly and unfairly going “They’re gonna f*ck it up,” over and over and over and over again, totally blind, thanks to my own prejudices, to the idea that Blue Sky Studios may not actually f*ck it up.

Folks, and I say this with no hyperbole and complete sincerity, Blue Sky Studios may not have f*cked this up.

4] San Andreas

$8,240,000 / $132,229,000

This might end up one of the highest grossing films of the year.  It’s up to $414 million worldwide, after all.  I, err, really did not see this one coming.  OK, then.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and an actually good disaster movie will come from this?

5] Dope

$6,018,000 / NEW

Doesn’t come out here until September 5th, despite looking like as much of a Summer movie as they come.  Unless that was actually the plan all along and its UK distributor is taking advantage of the fact that our one nice week of Summer-like weather is going to come in September!  That’s genius, and I also want to know the secret to their psychic and weather-controlling powers!

6] Insidious Chapter 3

$4,110,000 / $45,370,000

Oh, God, It Follows is due on home media next week!  Guess I’m done putting it off and it’ll be time to watch a film that I know I will love but which will undoubtedly cause me to not sleep for at least three weeks afterwards!  I hate being a wuss.

7] Pitch Perfect 2

$3,300,000 / $177,500,000

Pitch Perfect 3 is officially happening.  I personally think that this is really stretching it, and I say that as a huge fan of the second instalment, but we’ll see when the film comes out, I guess.  Besides, if they’re going to use this as an opportunity to correct the race problems that these films do have, then that’s alright by me.

I mean, they probably won’t, they’ll likely just do number 2 again, but I can hope, can’t I?

8] Mad Max: Fury Road

$2,815,000 / $143,602,000

…I’m out of things to say about this movie, by now.  Or, at least, things to say in the tiny space that I get each week.  Needless to say, I still doubt that anything will surpass it for my Film Of The Year, it’s amazing, and that’s that.  So… yeah.

9] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$2,723,000 / $451,039,000

Never did get to see this again, sadly, such is the life of somebody who is just terrible at time-management.  Or, more specifically, realising how long stuff actually takes to do.  Since I’ve written something close to 250 or-so articles of similar excessive length in the past two years, you’d think that I’d know how long it takes for me to write one of the damn things by now.

10] Tomorrowland

$2,009,000 / $87,696,000

Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!  This film might not suck, tomorrow!  But it’s always a day away!

Dropped Out: Entourage (AND STAY THE FUCK OUT), Love & Mercy

Callum Petch took a holiday, seven sweet days in Majorca.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 3/4/15 – 5/4/15

Furious 7 makes Fast mo-HOLY MOTHER OF CRAP, THAT’S MORE THAN I’LL MAKE IN 11 LIFETIMES, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

OK, let’s see if I still know how to do this…

I think we all expected Furious 7 to do well.  It’s the sequel to a series that has slowly become genuinely beloved as time has marched on, the last one made $97 million opening weekend – no, I have no idea how, and I say that as a fan of these movies – and it’s the last appearance of Paul Walker and, let’s face it, we were all morbidly curious to see how they dealt with it in film.  Oh, yeah, and the film itself is pretty great and stuff.  So, a high debut was pretty much guaranteed.  That didn’t stop me from flinging out the shocked profanity when I saw that it made $67 million on opening day alone.  I mean, $67 million!  That’s more than the GDP of some countries in a year!  In one day!

Furious 7 would close out the weekend with $143 million, officially the ninth best opening weekend ever for a film in America (assuming that actuals don’t drop it by about $800,000).  Undoubtedly the film was kept from ridiculously stupid echelons of money by the fact that it opened on Easter weekend, making Saturday and Sunday totals come in lower than they otherwise could have… but then I remember that $143 million is still ridiculously stupid echelons of money and I go back to just being in awe of that total.  I mean, aren’t you?  And that’s not even mentioning the fact that the film also made $240 million overseas, and that’s not including China as it doesn’t open there until next week.  All that money from a film with a predominately non-white cast.  Y’know, it’s almost like Hollywood could learn something from this but I just don’t know what…

Despite that commanding performance, which we all sort of saw coming from multiple miles away, other films did attempt opening against Furious 7.  They just correctly stuck to limited release.  Best performing of the lot was Woman In Gold, the Weinsteins’ attempt to re-capture that Philomena magic kinda sorta maybe not really – the trailer gave me a lot of Philomena vibes, OK?  On 258 screens, the film managed $2 million overall and actually broke into the chart itself, which isn’t bad at all.  Chinese possibly-comedy – I can find sod all about this film on the Internet – Let’s Get Married did next best with $180,000 from 39 screens, with the Anton Yelchin romantic drama 5 To 7 bringing up the rear but technically doing the best with $19,600 from 2 screens.  Indie films!

Elsewhere, before we get into the real meat of things, despite having collapsed disappointingly in America like a man who talks a big game about his bedding prowess but can only give you a few brief moments of satisfaction, Fifty Shades of Grey is now up to $400 million overseas from people who just don’t know how to quit this terrible movie.  It Follows continues to post relatively strong numbers in its nationwide expansion despite it getting next-to-no-marketing and, unsurprisingly since these are the people who made Ouija a success, being rejected by the general public at large.  Home dropped 47% between weekends but is still making good money, thank the Maker!  And finally, The Gunman dropped out after 2 weeks and nothing of value was lost.


paul walker

This Full List lives its life a quarter-mile at a time.

Box Office Results: Friday 3rd April 2015 – Sunday 5th April 2015

1] Furious 7

$143,623,000 / NEW

My review, for those of you who are interested.  This is going to be a fun week; I have to go on two separate audio outlets and defend this movie against two separate misery guts who wouldn’t know what a fun movie was if it sla- (*remembers that Owen is the head of this site and hastily shuts up*)

2] Home

$27,400,000 / $95,621,000

Home is the first DreamWorks Animation film since Shrek Forever After to be classified as Rotten because critics are unpleasable tits.  Trust me, Home is great.  Mind you, you probably already know that as you’ve likely already seen it, thank the Maker again!  Seriously, even though it’s nothing particularly brilliant, Home being a success makes me really legitimately happy for both DreamWorks’ immediate future and for more diversity in our animated leads.  Seriously, look at this image!  LOOK AT THIS GODDAMN IMAGE!  If your heart doesn’t swell with happiness looking at that, you are basically dead.

3] Get Hard

$12,925,000 / $57,004,000

I did see this last weekend, but I just never got around to reviewing it.  Probably for the best, otherwise you would have read nearly 2,000 words of me insisting that Kevin Hart is actually a really funny guy honest!  Seriously, he is a really funny guy, it’s just that his movies are really bad which makes my opinion come off as deluded for anybody who has only seen his terrible, terrible movies.  Seriously, man.  Pick better films!  Quickly, whilst I still have a chance at convincing people of your talent!

4] Cinderella

$10,289,000 / $167,251,000

Didn’t review this one for one simple reason: I’m getting really self-conscious about the fact that I am a straight white guy writing frequently about women in film.  Even the fact that I consider myself a feminist doesn’t help assuage the guilt and fear that I might be dictating how things should be with my man ways and such, and crowding out female voices which are far more important to this conversation.  Therefore, I point you towards Tasha Robinson of The Dissolve whose thoughts basically line up with mine but are far better expressed than I ever could.

5] The Divergent Series: Insurgent

$10,000,000 / $103,385,000

I was on the Failed Critics Podcast two weeks back where I attempted to explain this stupid, stupid universe to people who either hadn’t seen the movies or couldn’t remember the movies.  It was fun, even though I’m still 80% certain that I am the drunk stepchild that everybody puts up with out of politeness whenever I show up on there.

6] It Follows

$2,465,000 / $8,541,000

I’m looking forward to finally watch this when it hits Blu-Ray.  At home.  With all of the lights on.  And the ability to pause and/or mute the film when it inevitably pushes my nerves beyond breaking point.  Have I ever mentioned that I am really bad when it comes to horror?

7] Woman In Gold

$2,004,000 / NEW

The Voices is available to watch in all good cinemas right now!

8] Kingsman: The Secret Service

$1,700,000 / $122,260,000

With Home about to cross the mark sometime this week, that will make 7 films in the space of just over 3 months that have made $100 million at the domestic box office – 8 if you want to also count American Sniper from last year.  If I hear or see any “The Domestic Box Office Is Dying!” thinkpieces at any point this year, I am going to go f*cking nuclear.  Fair warning.

9] Do You Believe?

$1,500,000 / $9,811,000

…in life after love?  After love?  After love?  After love?

10] The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

$1,000,000 / $30,059,000

Has anybody else seen the trailer for The Lady In The Van yet?  If not, go do so.  It’s not out until November, which clearly means that this is being positioned as one last Best Actress roll call for Maggie Smith, but it looks so off-beat and distinctly and truly British – in the way that films like The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game could only dream of being – that I’m really intrigued by it.  There are still 7 months to go until I can actually see the thing, but I’ve already got a good feeling about it!  I’m optimistic!

Dropped Out: Run All Night, The Gunman

Callum Petch is a man, woman.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch) and listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio every Monday at 9PM BST (site link)!

Failed Critics Podcast: Leonard Nimoy, It Follows and a Game of Soggy Critics

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.

it followsWelcome to this week’s Failed Critics Podcast where Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by returning special guest, Andrew Brooker.

We kick off the podcast with Owen putting a price on Steve’s head after he forced Owen to watch c-list celebrity horror/revenge/thriller-spoof Kill Keith as a result of losing last week’s quiz. Andrew sparks another debate on BBFC’s system after controversial indie movie Hate Crime was refused a rating, before leading on a review of the brand new release and genuinely creepy horror movie, It Follows.

In honour of Leonard Nimoy who sadly passed away this week, the trio get together for a Spock-inspired triple bill which was as shambolic as ever. As I’m sure everyone is already aware, during Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, Mr Spock sacrifices himself to save his captain and friend James T. Kirk. Thus, the team each pick their three favourite film characters who die and then come back to life.

Join us again next week as the team will reunite to review Neill Blomkamp’s action sci-fi movie Chappie. Until then, live long and prosper.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINK

It Follows

An excellent entry into a genre that’s far too often found lacking. A genuine diamond in the rough.

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

it followsYesterday’s trip to see It Follows was a happy accident. I had a spare couple of hours and wanted to see something new. With the local Cine being refurbished the list of films available was a short one and my choices were limited to old guff, new guff, and this. I’d not heard anything of the film until recently. I hadn’t seen a trailer until yesterday and caught a couple of preview write-ups while deciding whether or not to watch it.

I went into the film knowing almost nothing about it. An advert and a synopsis was all I had and I admit, it was a nice change of pace. It was refreshing to go in blank and let the film be the film. Part of me still sat worried what I was letting myself in for. After all, I’d just seen a trailer that made it look like I was in for a couple of boring hours as the latest crappy, trope filled, teen hating “horror” movie. Fully expecting a paint-by-numbers waste of time, I sat with my popcorn and my bottle of water, put my feet up and prepared for nap time.

I rolled out of screen 3, an hour and forty minutes later pleasantly surprised, suitably creeped out and eating my own words.

It Follows is pretty formulaic on paper. We follow our heroine Jay, played by The Guest‘s Maika Monroe, as she becomes the latest person to become plagued by a curse. One that haunts its victim with terrifying imagery of a lone person chasing them. The only way to escape the agony of the curse following you is to pass it on to another person by having sex with them. Jay’s boyfriend has quite literally given her the shaft in an attempt to escape his curse. Now she must find a way to defeat it or escape it before it gets to her.

Enlisting the help of her friends, Jay seeks to find a way to beat the curse that, as the title suggests, follows her everywhere she goes. The guy that gave her the world’s worst STD informs her that it will chase her unrelentingly trying to kill her. Once it kills her, it will go back to the person that passed it to her and so on until it gets to the person who started the cycle. But the curse can’t run. It can’t pass through walls and it can’t fly. It walks. It’s one, single entity, and it walks after you, single-mindedly, hoping to catch you in a corner.

Like I said, pretty formulaic and by-the-numbers, right?

What blew me away was how it played out. It took its bland, generic looking ball and ran with it. I went in with genuinely low expectations and even when the first tropes were appearing on the screen I was rolling my eyes and sighing like a kid wanting attention. I didn’t want to be subject to the same garbage I was with films like Insidious. Luckily, I wasn’t.

The whole film quickly had me intrigued. Whilst there’s no scene or dialogue that dates the film, it seems to be set in mid 1980’s Detroit. Everything on the screen screams the 80’s. The cars, the clothes, oh god, the clothes. At one point a guy in acid wash jeans and jacket walks across the screen invoking thoughts of The Breakfast Club as I was watching. No mobile phones, no-one tweeting that they “saw a dead body #gross” and no massive flat screen TVs being advertised in every living room shot. There’s one hint that doesn’t sit with the rest of the setting, that’s it. Just one. The rest of the film has its feet firmly planted 30 years ago in the greatest age of horror movies. It’s a genius move to make. It felt like I had gotten tickets to some 80’s retrospective night and this was one of those greats that no-one had heard of.

The movie’s score serves to solidify its setting. Almost everything you’ll hear is that out-dated, teeth grinding electro-synth stuff we thought we left behind all those years ago. The films every encounter plays with an electronic backdrop that instantly conjours up memories of the films obvious influences. Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, even The Shining are all heavily borrowed from in both sound and visuals.

Writer/director David Robert Mitchell (of The Myth of the American Sleepover fame) also takes a lot of his influence from a much younger genre; Japanese horror. Taking some of the creepiest moments from films like Ringu and One Missed Call, Mitchell had my skin crawling and me writhing in my seat time and time again as these visuals, that had no business being in a retro looking film, jumped out of the screen at me and had me searching for the exits.

Now, you can hardly talk about a horror film without talking about its scares, can you? In a genre that’s become increasingly more reliant on blood and gore instead of scares, It Follows sticks with its old-school feel and sticks with what made horror what it was; scares. There are plenty of predictable jump scares for the masses going to see their “hug me” movie on date night. But there a few times where I was genuinely scared. I jumped out of my chair on more than one occasion and there was one time that, I swear to god, if I’d been at home where none could see a grown man crap his load, I’d have stopped the film and legged it to the nearest khazi to scrape my pants. I even knew it was coming. I’ve seen it before, but it didn’t stop the film from creeping me out to the point I wanted to go all ostrich like and hide my face in my popcorn.

It Follows owes its entire existence to the 1980’s. It’s an homage to all the horror films we all love from the late ’70’s and most of the ’80’s and in a sea of mediocre shocker films, it’s an absolute gem of a horror. Its heritage is firmly in a golden age of scary movies and while it’s an original film in its own right, it’s a better remake of 1980’s horror than most of the actual remakes we’ve been forced to watch over the last decade or so.

It Follows was released in UK cinemas on Friday 27 Feb and you can catch Brooker again on the next episode of the Failed Critics Podcast.