Dustin recently included It Follows on his list of movies we don’t talk about enough. The horror film, which is essentially about a girl who’s contracted a sexually transmitted demon, has a great spooky sexy premise, and a better than average execution, and I completely agree— we should be talking about this movie more. A shapeshifting killer whose target victim is passed through sex? This was made to be think piece fodder. And when I saw it back in March, I had a ton of thoughts and questions. But I never got around to talking about them because I very quickly realized that all of my questions— every single one— were waaaay too… let’s say, intimate. This movie left me wondering so much, but every element I want to explore is about the very mechanics of how sex works in this world, and just like a middle school kid in sex ed class, I’ve been too bashful to ask.
But nuts to that! Let’s do this thing. Let’s dive right in and talk about all the creepy, graphic details of the sexual rules of It Follows.
How exactly is this death target thing spread?
We’re told it’s through sex, that if our protagonist, Jay, sleeps with someone, the killer will then target that person. But what part of sex is responsible?
Is orgasm required to lose the killer?
Is this thing passed through the simple act of penetration, or do they both have to finish? Because I’m telling you right now I straight up do not believe this teenage girl came in the back of that dude’s car. Maybe she did, but having once been a college girl, those are not the ideal circumstances for someone learning to navigate her body. He probably did, though, which begs the question, does the demon thing require a climax? And moreover…
Could it be either partner? Does it have to be both? There are a whole lot of people in the world who see (straight) sex as an act that is over once the guy finishes? Is that this thing’s view too? And if so…
Is it only passed through heterosexual sex?
What about oral sex? Anal sex? What about sex between two women? We only ever see straight sex acts in the movie, and I think writer/director David Robert Mitchell could have done something fascinating by devoting maybe 10 minutes to exploring this. Say, if it had been Jay’s female friend Yara instead of Paul who had a crush on her and convinced her to pass the curse to her.
Once you’ve passed this thing on, is it out of your system forever, or are you always a carrier?
The movie plays with time in a way that it’s not always clear how much has passed between events, though at one point, Greg, the guy who passed it to Jay, does mention three days have passed. In that time, Jay has tried to get this thing off her back by presumably sleeping with at least one guy, maybe more, on a boat, and when she sees Greg in a cafeteria flirting with a girl, she gives him a cryptic look that could be interpreted a number of ways, though I saw it as judgement— shaming him for presumably being sexually active. Is this because you can set up a queue of sorts— so if Jay was killed, the “It” would move onto cafeteria girl? Or would it go straight back to Greg?
Okay, thank you all for letting me vent my way-too-personal sex mechanics questions. Feel free to add your own, or to shame me for thinking way too much about the sexual politics of a heteronormative, vaguely misogynistic fictitious sex demon.