Before It Follows took over, there was The Ring (2002)
The Ring (2002) was a well-received movie when it first came out, and it was a cult hit because I don’t think anyone was expecting it to be good. It has some of the same elements as in It Follows, such as the neverending killer and a haunting curse, which has rules. In both of these movies, the stalking killer has no obvious motivations, and characters scream their heads off trying to figure out what “it” wants.
I was reminded of The Ring recently when I read an article by the International Business Times about It Follows, and the parallel of sex and death. The Ring also has teens misbehaving, if you recall, although this is not as obvious and in-your-face as in It Follows, because the story begins some time after some teens uncovered evil, fooled around with it, and unleashed Samara. It’s almost as if The Ring is punishing people for being ignorant, since nobody knows what’s on a tape, so they play it and later die. Tough luck, I guess. It Follows treats it’s subjects as moral devices, more than unlucky victims, which produces a different tone, I think.
Still, The Ring deals with voyeurism and consumerism in a way that It Follows doesn’t even come close to reaching. In the 2002 film, I can remember Rachel standing on a balcony watching some of the people across the way from her in an adjacent apartment building, as if wondering how Death itself was going to sneak in. Rachel sees somebody watching TV, which conjures metaphorical images of apathy and gluttony slowly grinding society to death.
Overall, The Ring is just as scary as It Follows and it’s a horror film that often has me thinking about deeper things. I think the story in The Ring is pretty good and follows the same line as in It Follows, that is, people are trying to get rid of a curse. It is interesting how these differently these movies treat the same subject.