Quentin Tarantino Reveals How He Would Have Fixed ‘It Follows’
It Follows was a major sleeper hit when it was released earlier this year. Originally meant for VOD, director David Robert Mitchell’s film performed so well in a limited release, it was expanded to over 1,200 theaters two weeks later. Audiences loved it and it has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Yesterday, in an interview with Vulture, Quentin Tarantino said that he liked the film, but was frustrated because it could have been great. How could it have been great? Allow Quentin to explain.
Tarantino originally told the magazine It Follows had “the best premise I’ve seen in a horror film in a long, long, long time,” but that the execution left him a little bummed out. “It’s one of those movies that’s so good that you start getting mad at it for not being great. The fact that he didn’t take it all the way makes me not just disappointed but almost a little angry.” What was frustrating for readers of the interview was that Tarantino mentioned that the film could have been great, but didn’t give any specifics as to how he felt Mitchell could’ve achieved that.
Today, Vulture released some outtakes from the original interview where Tarantino expands on his original thoughts, explaining exactly what he would have done to fix It Follows.
[The movie broke] mythology left, right, and center. We see how the bad guys are: They’re never casual. They’re never just hanging around. They’ve always got that one look, and they always just progressively move toward you. Yet in the movie theater, the guy thinks he sees the woman in the yellow dress, and the girl goes, “What woman?” Then he realizes that it’s the follower. So he doesn’t realize it’s the follower upon just looking at her? She’s just standing in the doorway of the theater, smiling at him, and he doesn’t immediately notice her? You would think that he, of anybody, would know how to spot those things as soon as possible. We spotted them among the extras.
The movie keeps on doing things like that, not holding on to the rules that it sets up. Like, okay, you can shoot the bad guys in the head, but that just works for ten seconds? Well, that doesn’t make any fucking sense. What’s up with that? And then, all of a sudden, the things are aggressive and they’re picking up appliances and throwing them at people? Now they’re strategizing? That’s never been part of it before. I don’t buy that the thing is getting clever when they lower him into the pool. They’re not clever.
Also, there’s the gorgeously handsome geeky boy — and everyone’s supposed to be ignoring that he’s gorgeous, because that’s what you do in movies — that kid obviously has no problem having sex with her and putting the thing on his trail. He’s completely down with that idea. So wouldn’t it have been a good idea for her to fuck that guy before she went into the pool, so then at least two people could see the thing? It’s not like she’d have been tricking him into it. It’s what I would’ve done.
Tarantino brings up some valid points — the rules about the monster does seem to change at whim as the movie progresses — but Mitchell has indicated in the past that much of this was deliberate. Regarding their plan at the end of the movie, Mitchell admitted to Slate, “It’s the stupidest plan ever!” adding, “They do their best to accomplish something, and we witness its failure. It’s probably a very non-conventional way of approaching the third-act confrontation, but we thought it was a fun way to deal with it.”
As for the adapting rules of the monster, Mitchell explained, “ When I wrote those scenes where we see different forms of the monster, I tried to just think about what was troubling to me in each of those situations.”
There’s a lot in It Follows that feels abstract (the film is seemingly set in modern day, yet all the technology is dated), and mostly just serve a specific aesthetic that Mitchell was interested in exploring. Whether that works, or not, is up to you. But, it’s also fascinating to hear another director’s take on what they would’ve done with the same material.
There’s much more in these interview outtakes (including Tarantino talking about a plan he has for an upcoming sci-fi movie) that you'll definitely want to read.