FARGO – Writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s nightmares are helping make three Fargo natives’ dreams come true.
Jeff Schlossman, who teamed up with fellow Fargoans Bill Wallwork and Erik Rommesmo to produce “It Follows,” said the story was inspired by Mitchell’s own recurring nightmare.
The low-budget horror flick has quickly become a grassroots hit, creeping into the box-office top five in its first weekend of wide release.
The buzz generated from film festivals, favorable reviews and word-of-mouth helped put the atmospheric thriller in the No. 5 spot this weekend, behind major films such as DreamWorks’ “Home,” Will Ferrell vehicle “Get Hard” and “Divergent” sequel “Insurgent.”
“We’re happy to see the box-office turnout and that we’re in the top five competing with some very large films and with some very well-known actors,” Schlossman said Sunday.
“It Follows” centers around 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), who, after having sex in the backseat of a car with Hugh (Jake Weary), is tormented by a supernatural stalker that takes on several forms.
“People like to talk about it afterward because it gets them to think. They try to ‘figure out’ everything about the movie,” Schlossman said. “It’s really fun to hear their opinions on it.”
After the Fargo Film Festival gave attendees a sneak peek the first week of March, its release was expanded from 32 theaters to over 1,200, including Fargo’s West Acres 14 Cinema.
The move paid off.
“It Follows” has earned $4.8 million since its debut and is on track to surpass documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” as distributor Radius-TWC’s highest-grossing film.
The movie was released in France and the U.K. before Radius picked it up for distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Schlossman said it remains the most critically acclaimed movie in France.
It’s also holding a
95 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is almost unheard of for a horror movie. The consensus: “It’s smart, original and, above all, terrifying.”
“It’s not only the best-reviewed film of the year, but also one of the best horror films in over a decade,” Radius-TWC Co-President Tom Quinn told Variety.
Schlossman credits the success of “It Follows” to having “the right team” – the right screenplay, the right director, the right setting, the right cinematography, the right score, etc.
“We feel very lucky that it’s going well because any one of those pieces could have been off and it wouldn’t have turned out the way it has,” he said.
Theater: West Acres 14
Rating: R, for disturbing violent and sexual content including graphic nudity, and language
Time: 107 minutes