Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell's second feature has been receiving a great deal of positivity from critics, which is surprising given the nature of the film and particularly its genre: Horror. However, in the limited time It Follows has been in theaters, it has failed to make much of a mark on the box office. This may change in the coming weeks as a more intense ad campaign has been rolled out given the films critical success. But let's analyze what the hell is going on with this thing.
It Follows has a great jumping off concept. This is that dark childhood nightmare that there is some nameless thing that will always be walking towards you... personified in a feature film. Yet for all of Mitchell's attempts to give credence to the lack of knowledge we would have about such a being, he still chooses to play with those old tropes that the Horror genre has frequently tripped on over the course of its existence; running up the stairs instead of out the door, running in heels rather than kicking them off, a big final battle in an indoor pool... Yet these are part of the film's charm and don't directly take away from its overall quality or enjoyment.
I think, for me, It Follows' weakness lies in the creature itself (an old argument, but still quite valid). Such a creature could or should eventually show up in whatever its true form is. This film is a monster movie after all. One would be hard pressed not to desire some monster to appear by story's end. The transformative human nature of the creature is certainly fun, but it is not enough and likely will not get the job done for mainstream audiences...
Hence the lack of box office draw thus far. The trailers for this thing have been weak at best, and I can see an obvious lack of interest from mainstream America given that there is no proof or even real promise of any kind of creature. Don't get me wrong, mainstream America is not really the goal for a quality Horror flick, and this film likely did not hope for such an elaborate reception. This is simply food for thought.
More importantly, I think, is that the ads need to gather up an element of the film's actual nature... which in a rather critical sense is that of a very dry Dark Comedy. It Follows embraces certain cliches in the hope that they will bring us back to the days of 70s Horror and the like... the heyday of Horror as an art from. It's a cool concept and actually very well done. The pacing is on point (something that is frequently ignored in Hollywood) and the film doesn't simply live on jump moments as many of its like have failingly done over the last twenty years.
It Follows is surprisingly fun. It's not perfect, but it's the kind of stone in a river that perhaps can change the water's trajectory given enough time. If the studio finds a way to market this thing and it begins to pick up sales at the box office, we may be headed towards more intellectual Horror films in the future.