It Follows is a psychological and supernatural horror film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 17, March 2014. The film initially from the United States of America was directed and written by David Robert Mitchell and starred Mika Monroe, Daniel Zovatto, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Jake Weary and Lili Sepe. The movie stands out in an already crowded field of horror genre films sparking several interpretations from movie critics who question the symbolism within the film. One of the fascinating characters in the movie is the “thing”: an entity that pursues an individual and kills that individual if it catches them and is passed on from one individual to the next through sexual encounters, with its presence lending ambiguity to its purpose from the writer and director of the movie.
Superficially, the movie lives up to its horror based roots by terrifying and shocking the audience with its portrayal of ghastly gore and violence, but beneath the surface, the terror and shock within the movie stem from indistinct criticism of the world we live in today.
Horror movies in general appeal to a niche audience and one might seek forgiveness for thinking that they are not intricate enough to provide any degree of social analysis. Most horror films exploit our fixation with violence, sex, and blood, but some horror movies use horror and gore as a platform to garner attention to the contemporary societal anxieties and fears. It Follows satisfies its audience and fans by fulfilling their need for suspense and blood, but at the same time, it also warns on the dangers of casual sexual encounters with the sex looked on as a sin and the entity as symbolism for the results of sexual immorality.
The main plot of the film follows the life of teenage girl Jay (Maika Monroe) as she is pursued and subsequently flees a supernatural entity that seeks her death. As the movie starts Jay is in a movie date with a guy named Hugh; he asks they leave the theatre after seeing a girl she cannot see. On the second date, the two have a sexual encounter after which Hugh incapacitates Jay using chloroform, and she wakes up tied to a chair and in an abandoned plant building. Hugh goes on to explain to Jay of the entity that will follow her henceforth with her death its goal, also only she can see the being. Hugh flees and leaves Jay to face the being alone, and it’s only later that the police find out Hugh was not who he was saying he was. At school, the being starts haunting her leading to her friends agreeing to keep her company during the night, but still, her woes continue. After investigating the real identity of Hugh, Jay realizes that the entity takes on the shape of people one knows or is close. With the help of her neighbor Greg and her friends she tries to ward off and kill the entity only for it recover unscathed, this forces Jay to flee leading to her injury and hospitalization. In the hospital, Greg has sex with jay since he does not believe in the existence of the entity, but three days later she witnesses the death of Greg. As the movie reaches its climax, Jay’s friends lure the being and try to kill it and succeed in doing something; Jay later has sex with Paul believing the entity is dead but as the movie comes to a conclusion a figure is seen walking behind Paul and Jay.
Sin is a deviation from the recognized model order of living. According to the Baha’i faith: a religious faith initially from Persia, which is modern day Iran and which has spread to some parts of the Middle East. The Baha’i people consider humans as naturally good and who are incapable of receiving God’s love if they turn away from Him by sinning. In Buddhism, the idea of sin has no place within the faith, but the Theravada branch of Buddhism lists five crimes that result in instant disaster. These crimes considered as sin include patricide, matricide, wounding a Buddhist monk, executing an Arhat, and generating discord in society. In Hinduism, sin’s description is as actions that lead to the production of negative karma, steps that lead to the contravening of moral and ethical codes which lead to negative results. In Judaism, sin is the violation of any of 613 commandments, with the severity of punishment reliant on the type of crime. In Islam sin is an essential component of ethics in Islam, violation of the norms and laws set in place or anything that contradicts the commands of Allah. In Christianity, sin is central to the religion since the central message of Christianity rests on the redemption in Jesus Christ. According to Christians, crime is an act that is human and evil, which contravenes God’s law and nature and leads to the violation of man’s intellectual life.
According to the Christian Bible, there were two trees in the garden of creation better known as Eden with both trees integral to the narrative of creation and evolution of sin. The two trees and the decision by Adam and Eve to eat from one tree and not the other can portray the achievement of independence from God and the formation of human culture. One of the main points of the Genesis narrative is that the fall of humankind from the Grace of God was as a representative of the desire for autonomy, the right to know good from evil and to make personal choices. In Genesis sin enters into the lives of Adam and Eve through the serpent, with the narrative that is set up in the Bible based on the spiritual battle between good and evil. In some instances, the speaking’s of the serpent has been assumed to be an allegory for sexual desires, lust or deviant reasoning which one may expect to be wrong since there is no mention in the Bible of such. Sin itself did not start with Adam and Eve but rather was due to a revolt in heaven by the spiritual beings. The Christian church has insisted on the historical value of the fall of man in the creation story and even though, this notion has and is continually being challenged it talks to our experience and conscience positively.
Sin is derived atheistically from the nature of things or given a deistical treatment in terms of human will. A British monk known as Pelagius refused all ideas of the original sin, instead proposing that every individual has the same moral choices of will that Adam had in the garden of Eden in that the fall of man happens every time we sin rather than at the beginning after creation. Sin, as a result, comes out of the human will for self-governance which in many directions can be led astray by pride, from Adam to all his descendants according to the Bible the ability to have free will and autonomy from the creator. As such humans more or less fail to adhere to the right standards set forth by the creator for a good living and in such a case, we as humans fall short of the way God intended as to live thus sinning. Also, humans know what is morally and ethically right and wrong, thus no single person sins without knowing they are sinning, everybody who sins is guilty of the actions they have undertaken. This knowledge of evil from good, forms the basis of punishment for sins committed within Christianity since the act of sinning means falling short of the standards set out for a healthy and righteous life and as such the punishment for those who do not atone for their sins is eternal damnation.
One of the primary motivators of people to sin is foolishness or unbelief. According to the Bible atheism or a lack of belief in God is all fuelled by stupidity in that the sinner or an individual has no wish to put their faith and trust in a God they cannot see or quantify the existence of scientifically and as such are busy believing in themselves. This non-belief is in effect akin to committing spiritual suicide since the lack of belief in God leaves an individual at a point whereby they do not have a reasonable explanation for the origins of ethics and morals and their purpose in guiding how we should live our lives. Evil deeds do not make a man wicked, but a wicked man performs wicked deeds at the same time good deeds do not create a good man, but a good man performs good deeds thus according to Martin Luther under the law, a sinning individual is without good fruits. The unbelief and lack of trust in God and his promises and disobedience to the commandments of God constitute the essence of sin.
Sex as Sin
Today in modern times people have lost their sense of sin. When compared to the generations that have come before us, the reason for inequity in today’s times is inferior to those of our forefathers. The guilt complex has been used to explain sin by psychologists both in Christians and non-Christians alike, and in this manner, sex and inequity are related terms with the centering of guilty feelings on the wrongdoing of a sexual nature. Thus in accepting the explanations given to the sense of sin in modern times, several moral positions are acquired to enable these explanations. One such righteous idea is known as indifferentism which has a lot to do with sex since in contemporary times sex and sin are seen as the same. Today unlike in olden times the act of sex has become akin to drinking a cup of coffee in that it has become commonplace, this position is juxtaposed by naturalists that a good life for a man just like for any other animal should consist of the satisfaction of his sexual desires. Thus any taboos associated with sex are to be rejected since most taboos regarding sex are considered to originate from God, and since the normalization of sex many advocate the fulfillment of its desires followed by taking God quickly out of the picture. Modern man assumes that the instinct for sex is natural and as such is right, thus God cannot be against what feels right.
The term aphrodisiac can correctly term the culture in modern time, with its constant aim of putting sexual satisfaction at the center of life which in term reduces sex to an activity of sheer irresponsible pleasure. This normalization of sex reduces living to a series of casual encounters that are to fulfill the sexual needs of the individuals involved; this makes all connection of sex to the end of life and the bleeding of the moral character of the act. The relation between sex and enduring human love and the fidelity that accompanies this relationship is rightly ignored based on doing what feels right. In the modern world, sex is in the realms of physical contact only, with the phrase: the body is for pleasure and the soul for loving explaining sex as it is. Thus in contemporary times, sexual taboos have been derided, but their basis is on acknowledging the fact that sex is an individual act which leads to the creation of life and in which human love coincides.
Despite our illusions of freedom and self will, all of our actions are governed by our natural drives and urges that form part of our unconscious person. Thus even though we try to explain to ourselves, the loftiest forms of human pursuit which includes religious, artistic or heroism all are just a mask for the achievement of the ultimate satisfaction which is sex. Many sociologists call this determinism and explain that it issues from societal pressure and that no one can escape the collective consciousness of the society and its evaluations on our lives. In this case what matters is how a man acts of his own free volition, free of the pressures society places on him and thus one’s conscience becomes a law unto itself which leads to a refusal to accept the morality that advocates actions and their corresponding consequences. Modern man, therefore, understands that his freedom of choice makes him different from other beasts of the earth, this personal liberty lays an inescapable responsibility on an individual to be true to what he feels from his judgment and experience as morally right. Thus he feels the need to embrace this ideal personally rather than bow to norms thrust upon him by society even if it means going against the rules that society terms as taboo.
According to the Catholic church, sexual relations between a man and woman are both excellent and sacred, but the reservation of sex is only for marriage. This teaching is rooted in the accounts of creation in the book of Genesis whereby the making of each being has been to the likeness of God Himself, and thus each person has innate dignity. Within the book of Genesis God blesses the man and woman in the garden and charges them with multiplying and filling the earth, but before man and woman can express their love physically through sex, they have to be blessed by God. Only then in marriage do we find the blessings of God on the act of sex, since this act is an expression of love within a marriage and is a sacred symbol of the covenant between a man, his wife, and God. Marital sex which is sanctified by God also helps in the act of procreation and to thus violate this covenant reserved for marriage constitutes adultery. In modern times there are many actions related to sex including oral and phone sex and the act of masturbation. Phone sex can be described as lust in that the individual moves from reality and immerses themselves in a fantasy world, masturbation which includes the use of and enjoyment of pornographic stimuli is considered a mortal sin. Each of these acts even oral sex violates the sixth commandment. According to the Bible, the punishment for sexual sin or immorality is death for involved individuals on all accounts of immoral actions.
Sex as a Sin in the Movie It Follows
In the movie, It Follows the acts of sex, both the lust for sex and the physical act of sex itself are considered immoral. The movie is a horror film, and in that respect, it delivers in terms of the suspense, gore, and violence portrayed within the film, but under the surface, the movie is also a warning to the young generation whom it mainly targets on the dangers of sex outside of marriage. The film is meant for a young audience which is evident in the cast on screen and also the lack of visible adults within the movie, the message within is for a young audience. Sex in the film is a form of enjoyment for the characters; it is at the center of the lives of the characters with encounters between them going a long way in ensuring the fulfillment of this form of pleasure. Jay and Hugh have known each other for a relatively short period and as such should have invested more time in the relationship before any sexual encounters. Even with all the lies and tragedies that seem to occur to the character Jay due to sex, others still lust after her and eventually she has sexual encounters two more times irrespective of the drama that comes with the action. The entity in the movie brings death to those whom it hunts, and this death is transferred only through the act of sex. Hugh, it seems used sex as a form of satisfying a need and not as a show of the love of a marital union, this need was getting the ethereal entity to stop hunting him and start chasing Jay. According to the Bible adultery or any form of sex outside marriage is punishable by death which within the movie can be represented by the entity.
This movie showcases the transformation of sex within the contemporary generation, by removing its significance and the sanctity that comes with the act to an act of pure sexual desire akin to what wild animals do. According to the Bible sex outside the confines of blessed marriage union goes against the moral codes and ethics outlined in the Bible that govern how we should conduct ourselves about our God and to our fellow man. The characters in the movie are in constant search of the fulfillment of the desires that arise from lust on each other, with the sex losing its meaning and significance. Also, there is the ignoring of taboos on sex with God taken out of the picture entirely, but the wages sin with sexual sin, in particular, being death very much evident within the movie.
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IntroductionIt Follows is a psychological and supernatural horror. (2019, Nov 29). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/introductionit-follows-is-a-psychological-and-supernatural-horror-example-essay