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How Different Genres Can be Fun and Captivating Public Health Tools

by Gabriella Salazar 

Some horror films are easy to forget. You experience a rush of emotions and adrenaline during the movie, and a day or two later, you can hardly remember the experience. However, some can make a lasting impression. It Follows is undeniably one of those movies, and it has remained as such over the years.

The 2014 film directed by David Robert Mitchell, not only scored a 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes but centers around the gravity of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Though the underlying message of the film is dark, Mitchell manages to keep light-hearted dialogue, captivating cinematography, and adrenaline evoking excitement at the center of the audience’s attention.  

It Follows tells the story of the protagonist, Jay (Maika Monroe), a reserved college student who falls for the charming yet mysterious boy, Hugh (Jake Weary). After the two have sex, Hugh explains to Jay that he has passed a curse onto her, which the audience soon recognizes to be representative of an STD. Jay goes on to be incessantly haunted by the creature that only she can see. This comments on the fact that while everyone may not be able to see an STD, it is something that individuals often must carry with them for the remainder of their lives. It is a serious and chronic health risk that can be prevented by being responsible.  

At the end of the film, Jay and her friends presume that they have killed the ‘invisible’  creature, when, in reality, it never left Jay’s side. The closing scenes captures Jay and her most recent sexual partner walking down a dark, lifeless road with the unwelcomed creature trekking just behind them.  

So, why is this film so important? Because it does what dozens of films before it have failed to do. Whether you have any regard for the underlying message of the film or not has absolutely no stake in that it is a thoroughly entertaining, well-made, and well-casted movie. The movie makes for a perfect choice for a movie night with friends but also holds a great deal of potential in the realm of sex education.

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