Sorry for the delay, I know you’ve been waiting on this a few weeks, but I’ve just got back home for the first time in 18 months so…yeah. Non-stop promo = late e-mails. I’m not complaining, obviously, but it’s tough starting with festivals, I think even you guys know that.
Okay, sequel. I was gonna type it all out on word [I’ve been thinking about an It Follows Again since making the first film, to be honest], but then my thoughts started branching out a little and turned into the magic faraway tree with a different movie at the top of each cloud, so I think it’s better if I just start jabbing keys here and now and see where we go…
Title: It Follows Again
Simple, effective, obvious…too obvious? I’m reluctant to add a ‘2’, it cheapens it a little, but then again, everyone knows it’s a sequel so maybe there’s some merit in honesty?
Alternative titles: It also follows, It followed [with monster backstory], It Follows and Follows and…, IT [might cut the legs off Cary’s King remake, good or not?], It follows more, It’s Following, It Follows Everywhere…
Setting: somewhere in Europe
Or any other country is okay, really. a] I want the curse to feel global this time, and b]I really like the idea of a foreign guy who doesn’t speak English picking up the curse and travelling around Europe to get away from it.
Actually, does the protagonist need to be a guy? I’ll get to that in more detail soon, but my gut feeling is, yeah, it has to be a guy because things are about to get dark character-wise, so a woman might be too much of a stretch. Is that sexist? I don’t know. Women can be dark too, but…it just seems unlikely that a female character would go on the journey I need the main character to go on in this film. Maika’s character certainly wouldn’t.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Okay, so the premise:
We start with Maika [Monroe] getting out of bed and writing a long note to the guy sleeping behind her. She leaves and the guy wakes up, reads the letter and visibly looks confused. He tosses the note down and goes back to sleep. Later he wakes up and sees Maika Monroe walking back into the room and onto the bed. He smiles and holds out his hands, not realising it’s the monster…
Strong opening, I think. It connects to the original, makes you realise her best friend/boyfriend is dead, and shows how hard it is for a lot of people to believe the mythology of the curse.
As per the original intro, I think it’s better if we don’t show the guy actually being killed. Though it’s arguable…in the first film, the audience didn’t know what was going on, so it worked well, but in this one they know there’s a monster, they’ve seen it kill the neighbour in the first film, they know what it does…so is there any point cutting out the actual death scene? I’m really stuck on this bit actually. Not just the intro death, but all of it, the idea of doing a sequel. I’ve got the basic plot down, I just don’t know if it can be scary…or even creepy.
Basically, if I write a backstory for the monster/curse, it kills the mystery and the fear.
But if I don’t then it just repeats itself and people get bored.
I suppose the best thing to do, and this is the way I’m heading at the moment, is to change the main characters around, make them approach the curse in a different way than Maika in the original. That way you can keep the monster/curse the same and things will play out differently because the characters are reacting in different ways.
Okay, I’m explaining things to myself here. Here’s the rest of the plot I’ve got so far.
So, next up, we see Maika at the grave of her best friend from the first film, crying, saying sorry, etc. Then we see the monster walking towards her so she leaves quite calmly [she knows it won’t start sprinting, she’s been doing this a while now].
Then she’s at the airport, waiting for a flight. A random guy talks to her in a shop, quite aggressively, and she ignores him. Then she sees the monster coming before her flight is ready, so she quickly grabs the guy and takes him somewhere for sex. Afterwards, she says sorry, and tells him to run, but he doesn’t understand. She follows him back to his boarding gate and sees him get on his plane then goes to her flight. The flight is delayed due to the man being killed on the other plane and Maika watches as the door is left open for a long time. Finally, the door closes. Maika goes to the toilet and hears a knocking sound on the door, but the plane starts moving so she’s safe.
Switch to Berlin or somewhere else in Europe, doesn’t matter where. Maika lands at the airport and breathes out, wondering if she’s finally free.
She travels around for a while, not having sex with anyone, but thinking about it. A month or so later, we can do a montage, she’s in another city, looking around a castle when the monster appears again. She runs away and gets on the train to another place then goes to get drunk. A guy approaches her and she tells him to go away, she’s cursed. He laughs because he doesn’t really understand English that well and they end up back at his place, where he tells her it’s okay, he’ll protect her. They have sex, with echoes of the best friend from the first film. Maika wakes up and tells him he needs to run, to keep moving, but he laughs [again, because his English is pretty limited].
Okay, at this point, maybe 30 minutes in…Maika exits the movie. She doesn’t die, she just leaves. She does write a very basic note for the guy, explaining the curse and telling him to take it to someone who speaks English, but he doesn’t take much notice of it.
Also, the first 30 minutes, ideally, should be constant running from Maika, inducing a kind of fatigue in the character and audience, similar to the 2nd ep of the BSG remake. There won’t be a lot of talking or quiet moments, it will just be Maika relentlessly pursued by the monster.
Okay, there will be some quiet moments as she’s not got anyone to talk to anymore, but they’ll be cut faster.
So, after Maika departs, the main character becomes: this guy.
And the language switches to Croatian or whatever.
I don’t think there are many. Most horror films ditch the character from the first one when they do the sequel, and Psycho switched main characters halfway through so that’s not a problem either.
Changing from a girl to a guy – I think it’s the only move that can keep this thing fresh. The one issue I have is that it conforms to the stereotype of the guy being a promiscuous asshole, which implies that a girl couldn’t play that role. Maika did sleep with three guys in the original, but this character needs to treat the curse differently. He’s suffering from some anxiety problem [maybe…I’m not sure why he’s so nihilistic yet, maybe it can be unexplained] so he sleeps with women and men and then watches them get hunted, so he knows the curse is back on him…then he finds a new target to fuck and so it goes, on and on…
Actually, re-reading that last part, would that really work? Wouldn’t he be the last person seen with the victim each time? The police would surely get suspicious…
Also, it makes the plot an infinite loop…if he doesn’t tell anyone about the curse, where’s the ending?
Okay, I got a better idea.
And this one can make him more sympathetic too…
Right, so the Croatian’s got the curse, and the note from Maika, but he doesn’t understand it, so he puts it in his wallet and goes out again the next night, picks up a random guy [he’s bisexual] and sleeps with him. The next morning, the Croatian guy wakes up and shows his new friend the note…the guy reads it and asks if it’s fiction, and the Croatian shrugs, asking what it says. The guy gets up to shower, tells the Croatian he’ll tell him later but doesn’t come back for a long time. The Croatian goes into the bathroom and sees the monster killing the guy and then turning and walking towards him.
The Croatian runs outside and looks back, but no one’s following him. He waits a minute or two and then the monster appears as the dead guy and follows him. No one else notices the monster even though he’s naked, so the man runs again, all the way to his house.
He gets all his stuff and gets on the train back to what we find out is his hometown. He goes to his girlfriend’s house [she’s putting horror posters up on the wall as a way to avoid studying for her exams] and tells her he needs to rest for a while. She comes up later and asks where he’s been, and he says nowhere. She tells him she’s sorry, and if he can forgive her, she’ll never cheat again. He nods and they have sex. The next morning, she finds the note in his wallet and asks him about it. He says it’s just a joke, and she says it’s signed with a girl’s name. He asks what it says and she tells him. His face turns as white as Fargo.
– Yes, I really think this is a better way. The guy is not a complete asshole, but he’s not perfect either.
– The excuse that he only cheated because his girlfriend cheated on him first might be a bit weak. I don’t like the idea of justified cheating, much better to have a guy who’s just weak-willed or promiscuous, but I’m worried that no one will follow him if he’s a cheating prick.
– But then…everyone loves a reformer, right? It can all be his fault, he knows it, and he finally accepts responsibility and makes it his mission to protect his girlfriend.
– becoming too much of a male hero fantasy? Protect the girlfriend, fight the monster…
– But then it is all his fault…shouldn’t he protect her?
– Maybe the girlfriend says she needs to buy a gun or a baseball bat…I don’t know.
We’ll figure it out later, I guess.
So after the girlfriend tells him what the note says, he confesses everything and tells her about the monster. She’s terrified, but he says it’s okay, all she has to do is have sex with someone else and it’ll be okay. She refuses at first, saying it’s like murdering someone, but after the monster appears and does its best Gary Busey face she changes her mind and together they look for a guy who’s a bit of a motherfucker.
They find a guy at a bar and she fucks him in the toilet, almost crying while she does it.
– This scene could be extremely problematic as it skews close to rape…but I can’t think of any other way to resolve the plot…
– Unless she starts with the guy, but can’t go through with it…but then this isn’t a normal situation. Seeing the monster would terrify anyone and that surely would make her go through with it. Survival instinct.
– I really don’t know about this part. Maybe it’s best if she starts then stops halfway, so there’s no ambiguous sex but the curse is still passed on?
– How exactly is the curse passed on? Penetration only?
– After whatever kind of sex we decide on, she goes back to her boyfriend and they share an awkward silence. She asks what happens when the guy is killed, and the boyfriend says they’ll have to find another asshole. She says she can’t live like that. He says they have no choice, but they’ll keep travelling so they can put some miles between them and the monster. She tells the boyfriend he seems more like her pimp now. He doesn’t answer.
– They walk home and pack their bags and head to the train station. They see the guy she had sex with and, out of guilt, she tries to explain the curse, but it’s not the guy, it’s the monster…
– my gut says she should die here…realistically, she needs to die as the monster is right next to her and if she is able to escape then it negates the fear factor of the monster. Everything we’ve built will fall down as the whole point is, once the monster catches up to you, you’re done.
– I guess the first film kinda dispelled that myth though, didn’t it? Maika survived, so why can’t others? Why can’t the girlfriend evade the monster?
– I don’t know, I’m quite torn. Character-wise, I want the guy to take responsibility for his actions and by protecting his girlfriend he’s doing that. But I don’t want the girlfriend to be a scared dummy either…
God, she’s still ‘girlfriend’ and he’s still ‘guy’. Gotta look up some Croatian names asap…
Girlfriend = Agata
Croatian Guy = Damir
– What would happen if Damir has sex with Agata again? Would the curse go back to him? Or once you’ve had it, maybe you can’t get it again?
– But that doesn’t matter, does it? The whole point of the film and the curse is that no one really knows anything. They’re all either guessing or going by what they’ve heard from the previous curse bearer. Ah, that’s the beauty of this film…there’s no one to accurately explain the curse…so the characters will constantly make mistakes…which leads to movie fucking magic…man, I love building mythology…or not building it…i always hated it in the Freddy films when they found out for sure how to fight him instead of like it was with Nancy in the original when she didn’t have a clue and was just using her intuition. Man, whatever happened to Nancy? The actress, I mean. Heather Lagenkamp, was that her name? What happened to her? Did she retire? No, wait, she’s a woman, she probably reached 30 and…well, you know how it goes…I hope Maika can avoid all that bullshit, she’s actually got a lot of range for someone so young…but I guess a lot of them had range and it didn’t change a thing…fucking H wood…
Sorry, I got a bit carried away there. Point is: characters don’t know monster mythology.
Okay, provisional ending: Agata escapes with Damir, they get on the train, she tries to chat up a guy for sex, but he’s too normal and she can’t do it. She tells Damir this and he tells her he knows what to do. He has sex with her and tells her it puts the curse back on him. She asks if he’s sure, and he says he thinks so.
Problem: I still don’t know if we’re giving Agata enough agency. She’s a bit of a reactor at the moment…maybe she should make more decisions…she’s the one who’s the target after all.
Also, the thing I remember most about Zagreb [okay, it was six years ago now, but still…] was the complete lack of black people. And some fucker who called me gay just for wearing glasses. Yeah, apparently gay is in an insult over there. In short, Croatia seems a bit lax on tolerance of others so why not make the girl black? Then we could add a bit of racism to the film, give it a bit more depth e.g. the Croatian guy is quite brave for dating a black girl in Zagreb, almost as brave as the girl for living there in the first place. Obviously, the Croatian Tourism Board might be pissed at us if we make it too overt, but it would at least get some attention media-wise. I think it would also add subtext, but I’m assuming you could give two shits about that.
– Maybe I am being a bit tough on Croatia…there were nice people too…but there’s not much to write about nice people…I guess it’s the bad ones that stick in your head, right?
– Damir decides to kill the monster. Or Agata does, but Damir says it’s his fault they’re in this mess so he has to do it. When they get to the next city he gets a gun [no idea how, Europe is not the US] and waits in a small room for the monster to come. He tells Agata to wait somewhere else. He waits for a long time and finally the door opens and his girlfriend enters. He realises it’s the monster, but struggles to shoot. The monster grabs his arm.
– Final scene – Maika Monroe is sitting in a classroom, teaching Japanese students English. The bell rings and the students leave and she goes to the teacher’s room. The other teacher’s leave and then a Japanese student enters and stares at her. She realises it’s the monster and she’s fucked. The audience realises the Damir and Agata are also dead.
Final final scene – the guy from the first film, the one who infected Maika is walking out of his office and onto the street. He stops to tie his shoelace and when he looks up he sees Maika walking towards him, slowly…
– That last scene might be a bridge too far…what do you think? There’s a danger in killing off Maika as she’s the one the audience most relates to, but the only way to work backwards with the curse is to kill her and then the guy who gave it to her…then in the third film we can find out how far back this thing goes…all the way to Michael Douglas perhaps? Yes, I’m vaguely aware of how lawsuits work, I swear.
– hmm, It’s risky, but maybe in the third film we could follow the monster?
There, that’s all I’ve got so far. I think parts of it are quite strong. I really like the idea of switching protagonists thirty minutes in, and the idea of them speaking a different language, but that also brings the danger of nobody giving a shit about the new guy. One possible fix might be to introduce him earlier somehow…give him more time to show his funny side by talking to Maika…but can he really be that funny if all he knows is broken English?
As per last time, any edits you wanna suggest, go right ahead. I’m an ego-less machine, as you know.
Big love to all the suits on my side
Subject: re: sequel
Hey Dave, some edits as requested.
Love the general idea, but the following would be better for us.
Setting: US city
Main Characters: Maika Monroe and new guy. Ditch the Croatians [I know where Croatia is, but no one else will].
Plot: Best friend from original is killed at the start. Maika goes on the run and a new guy decides to help her. Together, they fall in love, have some sex and fight the monster.
Other stuff: They search for more info on the curse and find a Native American man in a trailer who tells them the history of the monster. With this info, they now stand a chance.
The airport scene is good, but better if they’re flying somewhere in the US.
Croatian dialogue means subtitles, which is a killer for horror. Scratch this one.
More nudity, especially from Maika, would be good. She’s a strong female character so it shouldn’t be a problem. The whole premise is based on sex after all.
Let’s see the monster making more kills – the first film was a bit vague on method, so needs to be rectified. Like you said, if the audience knows it’s the monster already, then it’s okay to show kills.
I think that’s it.
Your favourite suit, Glen.
P.S. we’ve lined up some conventions for you next year, and some merch, you can see the attachment for details. Let us know how much you wanna charge for autographs + pics.