9 Years Later, an Acclaimed Thriller is Getting a Sequel — But Should It?
How do you expand on a brilliant but exhausted premise?
There’s no expiration date for sequels. It doesn’t matter if they’re filmed back-to-back, like Back to the Future Parts II and III, or if there are literal generations between the installments, like Tron and Tron: Legacy. If there’s a memorable story, most fans will want to see what’s next, even if the characters or creatives that made the first movie click aren’t returning.
The latest movie to get the surprise sequel treatment has been out for nine years. But is a sequel, even a well-executed sequel, the best idea? Or is this just another example of forcing a franchise out of a standalone story?
Variety reports that a sequel to It Follows will begin filming in 2024. The new movie, aptly titled They Follow, will feature Maika Monroe reprising her role as Jay Height, and writer and director David Robert Mitchell will return to again fill both roles. While the first film was distributed by now-dormant company Radius, the new movie will come courtesy of Neon, the company behind the American release of films like Parasite and Crimes of the Future.
A returning star, a returning writer and director, and a trendy new distributor collectively offer about as much promise as a sequel can hope for. But is it a good idea? It Follows was a memorable hit because of how unique the threat of a sexually-transmitted stalker was. Where does a sequel go from there?
Maybe the threat will be elevated, and the evil Entity will be able to move at a light jog. Maybe the curse will be multiplied, and multiple followers will haunt our heroes. But the following gimmick, while a brilliant premise for one movie, seems too thin to withstand a second.
Still, if any writer can find their way out of this problem, it’s David Robert Mitchell. The mind behind the underrated neo-noir Under the Silver Lake knows his way around a complicated, outside-the-box story. No matter who or what the “they” in They Follow winds up being, the movie will hopefully find a way to squeeze a franchise out of a one-shot.