What Does The Ending Of It Follows Really Mean?

David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows comes with a concept so simple and genius that it’s hard to believe nobody’s thought of it before. After Jay (aces newcomer Maika Monroe) has sex for the first time with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), he tells her that he’s just passed something onto her. No, it’s not an STD—he’s just given a sexually transmitted ghost/monster, one that takes the form of various people only the inflicted person can see, and only he or she can see those people. You’re dead if the creature catches up to you. The only way to save yourself is to have sex with someone else and pass the nightmare onto them.

It Follows is like nothing genre fans have seen before, and yet it owes so much to what came before it. A cross-breeding of tropes from the past half a century of horror cinema, the movie is gorgeously shot, vividly told, and full of teen characters that have an unusual amount of compassion for one another.

Today, we are going to be talking about the film’s fairly indistinct ending and what it possibly means. So, needless to say, a SPOILER ALERT is in full effect. Before we talk about the film’s finale, however, let’s take a look back at the events leading up to it.

It Follows Beach Death

It Follows Wheelchair Scene

It Follows Mirror

After Jay initially gets infected by her boyfriend, she soon realizes that everything that he told her was indeed the truth. The next day at school, Jay encounters an old woman in a night gown slowly approaching her, prompting her to hightail it out of there.

Jay’s friends – Yara (Olivia Luccardi), Paul (Keir Gilchrist), her sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and her neighbor Greg (Daniel Zovatto) – ultimately choose to accept the crazy premise that’s being presented and decide to help their friend in any way that they can. This begins by helping Jay find Hugh (whose real name turns out to be Jeff Redmond). He basically reiterates that her only chance is to pass it in on to someone else or get as far away from it as you can and hope to buy some time.

With that, the gang of friends head up to Greg’s lakehouse, where Jay learns to fire a gun. The entity, taking multiple guises, eventually catches up and attacks Jay on the lakeshore. She shoots it, only momentarily incapacitating it. Jay flees the house alone in Greg’s car but narrowly avoids hitting a truck and instead crashes into a cornfield. She wakes up in the hospital with a broken arm, surrounded by her friends.

In the hospital, Greg sleeps with Jay to pass on the curse, and insists he does not believe in it. Later, Jay sees Greg smash the window to his own house and enter. She tries to warn the real Greg on the telephone but he does not answer. She runs into the house and finds the entity in the form of Greg’s half-naked mother knocking on his door; it jumps on Greg and has sex with him (or something to that effect) as he dies.

Jay flees by car and spends the night by the beach. On a beach in the morning, Jay sees three young men on a boat. She undresses and walks into the water. It’s heavily implied that she had sex with at least one (if not all) of these men in order to buy some more time.

Back home, Paul expresses his feelings about Jay sleeping with Greg and not him; offering to have sex with her. She refuses… for now.

The group then forms a plan to kill the entity by luring it into an abandoned swimming pool and dropping electrical devices into the water to electrocute it. Jay, waiting in the pool, spots the entity and realizes it has taken the appearance of her father as it throws the devices at her. Firing at an invisible target, Paul accidentally wounds Yara, but shoots the entity in the head, causing it to fall into the pool. As it drags Jay underwater, he shoots it again and Jay escapes. The entity leaves a large cloud of blood but no body is present.

Afterwards. Jay and Paul have sex. We then see Paul drive past some past prostitutes in a seedy part of town. Sometime later, Jay and Paul hold hands and walk down the street while someone follows close behind. Cut to the end credits.

So many questions, it’s hard to even find a starting point. Did Paul pick up a prostitute? Did Jay have sex with those guys on the boat? Why does the thing usually wear white? Why was Jay’s pool destroyed? Does the thing sex people to death or what? Why is the thing so angry? Why!?!

It Follows Boat Scene

It Follows Pool Scene

It Follows Final Scene

As far as the film’s final scene, it seems to be up to each individual viewer to surmise whether the kids beat the thing or whether they’re still being followed. As for the moments leading up to the finale, this is what the director himself had to say when he spoke to Vulture, with regards to the character’s anomalous attempt to get rid of the monster:

“It’s the stupidest plan ever! It’s a kid-movie plan, it’s something that Scooby-Doo and the gang might think of, and that was sort of the point. What would you do if you were confronted by a monster and found yourself trapped within a nightmare? Ultimately, you have to resort to some way of fighting it that’s accessible to you in the physical world, and that’s not really going to cut it. We kind of avoid any kind of traditional setup for that sequence, because in more traditional horror films, there might be a clue that would lead them to figure out a way to destroy this monster. I intentionally avoided placing those. Instead, they do their best to accomplish something, and we witness its failure. It’s probably a very non-conventional way of approaching the third-act confrontation, but we thought it was a fun way to deal with it.”

As stated before, in the final shot of the film, Jay and Paul are walking down the street holding hands, with someone walking behind them, that we all assume is the demon. In regards to that scene, the director says:

“We had a couple variations on it — I think we had some where he was really far back, and then some where no one would ever miss him — but we settled on the one where he’s there, but not too close. It allows people to make up their own mind of what it means.”

Perhaps if Jay and Paul continue to have sex with one another, they’ll continue to transfer the demon back and fourth until it becomes utterly confused and simply moves on. Who knows. One thing’s for certain. You know how Jaws made you never want to swim in an ocean again? Or how Psycho turned showers into potential death traps? Well, It Follows could ultimately become the catalyst that popularizes abstinence nationwide. Seriously, this movie could end up closing more legs than a Bill Belichick sex tape.

What did you guys think of It Follows and its ambiguous ending? Leave your thoughts, theories, and explanations in the comment section below.

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49 thoughts on “What Does The Ending Of It Follows Really Mean?

  1. i believe paul and jay are now the demon as well they now terrorize others strongly 2 as 1 they all wear white the boy in the back is one of them also this is my take on it the ultimate twist noone spoke of but my first thought

  2. see above comment i believe jay and apul did not rid the demon but became the demon strongly 2 as 1 holding hands to terrorize others they all wear white the4 boy in the back is not a threat to them but one of them “now”??? what do u guys think?

  3. I noticed Paul and Jay Dressed in white at the end but they also had dark coats on. The guy walking behind them was in a red jacket. Where ‘it’ is never seen wearing bright colours, or anything much other than white throughout the film.
    One other thing that stuck out in the film happens in the Cinema scene, where Hugh, gets freaked out by a girl in a Yellow dress. Again ‘it’ is always depicted wearing white or similar…

  4. It was obvious from one of the early scenes at Lake Michigan that this thing can’t die. It was shot and just kept going why did they decide to try and ‘kill’ it and then why did it disappear after being shot in the head in the swimming pool they already shot in the head at the swimming pool when it first dropped in the water and it didn’t ‘die’ why did it the SECOND time? Maybe I am over-thinking a horror film

  5. I think Paul fucked a prostitute, but he and Jay are still worried about her dying before passing it along to her next “client” and so they stay together, having 2 sets of eyes on guard at all times.

    The prostitute and the scene where Jay walks into the lake to fuck the 3 men on the boat are my only complaints about the film. I think if you build an entire movie around “dramatic irony” (the audience seeing “it” coming in the distance while the characters don’t know) then it should stick to this idea of keeping the audience ahead of the characters and not cutting away at pivotal scenes like this. Ruined the pace for me personally, as I didn’t know whether to feel at ease or tense anymore. It’s nit-picky but a reasonable criticism.

  6. I don’t think Paul picked up any sex worker. That shot existed to show his young mind at work given recent events (i.e. having sex himself, dealing with “it”) on top of his pre-existing fears and/or questions. Jay may or may not have had sex with the boat boy(s). Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The person following them at the end is not “it”. Jay and Paul are now in an unfulfilling monogamous relationship, which presumably defers any incarnation of “it” as they pass it back and forth for an indefinite amount of time. Classic “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. Adulthood is hard and cold and complicated.

  7. The person at the end is definitely not “It”. If you watch closely, the man in the background looks casually to both sides. The monster in the movie never averts it’s eyes from its target even when being attacked.
    Wonderful movie. My favorite thing about it was the intentional melodrama. If done differently it could have been painfully corny, but these young actors and actresses pulled it off. I was blown away by the pacing as well! Wow! I haven’t seen a movie with better pacing. You feel much more a part of their “world” because of it. I really enjoyed this one, sure, it had its flaws, but all in all it felt very different, and in a way special to me.

    1. You are right in noticing that but the problem is the movie is full of flaws so you just found a possible flaw.

      This movie from start to finish is far from “technically” sound. I don’t think they consulted Einstein’s ghost to make sure that all the “technical” points were covered nor that anything was 100% consistent.

      Like when the creature was shot near the boat house it healed super fast, also the first head shot wound outside of the pool didn’t appear that bad. Now the head shot in the pool caused quarts of blood and that is inconsistent or a flaw nor technical.
      It can be explained if you say or assume the creature has a weakness to water and heals slower?

      To close out on your original point maybe “it” evolved by the end (after the hardcore pool scene) so it did avert its gaze in an attempt to “blend” in better, why not?
      With a lack of variable values, we have the variables but we have too many unknown values so there’s no way to prove or know much, was this a flaw or mistake in the movie or did it fit a pattern a sequence so that we would make a clear analysis, no there was no intelligent, consistent pattern and just reading the Director’s comments that very clear.

  8. Just watched ‘It’ on Showtime. Very well done, creepy, atmospheric horror movie with an ambiguous ending. I think the ending can mean they are just facing the problem together and while they may be cautious and afraid they can take comfort in eachother and have one to share the experience. It’s almost an allegorical movie with a not so subtle morality and while it does indulge in the usual horror cliche’
    ‘Sex=Death’ it sort of turns it on it’s head. The acting was great and the non-typical way the teens deal with the threat is a nice departure from the usual every person for themselves horror canon. Definitely a good Millennial horror flick.

    1. I agree, it is very allegorical. So many horror movies have an existential theme to them but the way this movie applies that so directly, I found really cool. The mood of the evening house shots blended into my memories of old suburban streets I have. The music was fantastic. Going into the final scene, my mind was spinning with questions but then the movie ended brilliantly. I didn’t understand it but after reading some I get it now.

      1. Reminded me of my childhood too. Started watching when the friend was washing his car and I thought it was set in the 80’s. Soundtrack was brilliant

  9. I was worried about the ending of this movie and i was right. It has no ending. The director had no idea how to end the movie. I hate endings like this. Also the movie explains almost nothing. You gotta give me something. I hate movies no explanation. The girls dead body at the beginning was so fake looking. You could clearly tell her legs were under the sand. How did IT get started, and what happens if IT kills everybody that IT was following? Does it cease to exist? You gotta give me more explanation than what they did. Its lazy writing to me but thats just my opinion.

    1. Agreed. I like an ending and things coming together at the end. I also thought it would eventually go into how “It” started, and at the end would culminate by showing how it can be eradicated forever

    2. You hate it because you are the kind of stupid movie-goers who can’t appreciate films that leave to interpretation but has to have everything explained to him? What did you want? The at they explained what it was? Some kind of voodoo done thousands of years ago? Lol

  10. Two guys in the movie slept with the girl knowing the situation, sure one guy was a “non-believer” but the other guy knew for sure.

    So the premise of the story is if a guy wants to get laid bad enough he will do so at any cost.

    Btw, not a fan of a “unexplained” monster and no clear ending; that’s way too much M. Night “Scamalan” (Yes Scamalan, because for the slow out there, you get “scammed” give me my money back) and it cheats the viewer.

    Would Avengers be better if you saw Captain America running around like some nut with this shield but you didn’t know who he was and why he fought evil?

    Maiki is great I always like her, who doesn’t.

    The most annoying thing is this movie had all the pieces to be great and original but how is it original with the Scamalan aspect that all the dumb, (cough sound, Cloverfield) movies do and don’t get that most people don’t like that. Let’s be vague, let’s not be clear, everyone is dumb in the movie, and we won’t tell you how it even kind of ends, that’s “original”??? Since when.

    1. I wanted to add, this is Jason again and before I saw this I was just looking for some insight if the writer had a monster in mind to base this on not really theories but that’s all I found. I found theories from our brilliant American population.

      On Reddit ( use this search term within the quote for Google “it follows theories site:reddit.com” and it will be on the top).

      They think that it’s “death” itself or HIV (yeah, really), didn’t we cover the death theory clear in Final Destination, like death is a little more than some creeper at walking speed that you can out run. Death could make the sun hotter in one spot, the movie is not an analogy, it’s not a poem. They even speculated that the sex must have not been “safe” or if it was then “no passing”, good question, I don’t know.

      “Death” would NOT bleed and this ‘thing’ bled. I know it healed fast but it bled so it can be killed and all I’m saying is Sammy and Dean would take this thing out before the second commercial and the writer and director too for trolling us like this. And Death has been portrayed so many times on screen and in literature with some consistency and that is it’s well beyond some shape shifting monster that heals from gun wounds.

      I apologize for writing too long and not consolidating more, being efficient, writing is my weakest area.

      1. I don’t think it is “literally” death, but metaphorically death, if that makes sense. It is the concept of death, not Death itself.

        So when they shot “Death” it was more like a temporary psychological pacification of the concept of death and that pacification did little to suppress the horror of the concept, as it were.

  11. I didn’t see any comments about the provenance. The old TVs (including one old TV sitting on top of another one!) and some of the cars and the clear evocations of “Halloween”. Yet there’s the weird flip phone that’s also a sort of Kindle. Gonna look for some explanations online. Loved the movie – scary and good, an unusual combination.

  12. I just watched this movie and loved how creepy it was. For those who don’t believe that was “it” following them at the end how do you explain how it just appeared out of nowhere? I think that was “it”. I don’t think he slept with the prostitute nor that Jay did the “3!” boat guys. I don’t think she was that advanced in her sexuality yet. Lol I’m just waiting for the sequel.

  13. I’m interested by the scars that “it” left on Jay and Paul. At the beginning of the film Hugh quickly says “Don’t let it touch you!”, but it touched both Jay and Paul. Paul had those nasty scars on his torso from when it hit him on the beach, and Jay had scars on her ankle from when it grabbed her in the pool. I’m not sure what the scars mean.

    It’s also interesting that when it killed Greg it kinda was having sex with him. So you get it by having sex, you pass it on by having sex, or it kills you by having sex with you.

    1. In the scene before the last one, the girl is reading about wounds that cause torment.

      Besides being a permanent reminder of the physical ordeal, the scars represent the mental anguish of the event that they cannot erase because they now understand their own mortality and that recognition has changed them forever.

      They were literally “touched by death”.

  14. I think the ending is a set up for another movie to show it follows never stops following you like a chain letter that you started always comes back to blame you for passing it on.

  15. Stanley Rutgers is not very intelligent. Smart ppl hate it cuz they are trying to fully and thoroughly understand the full story and every little detail in the film. What smart ppl are realizing is that nothing fits, there are many loops and unexplainable events that remain unanswered. On the other side, dumb ppl love it cuz they are amazed by an inconsistent story full of holes.

  16. Just go with the simplest theory. Yes, Paul slept with a prostitute, however, he didn’t inform the prostitute of ‘IT’
    ‘IT’ then killed the prostitute before she could pass ‘IT’ onto another unsuspecting person. The final scene depicts the return of ‘IT’ & judging by the complete emptiness & lack of emotion on their faces, they know it and they just repeat this cycle.

  17. I don’t know if I am the only one that draws the conclusion that this movie is about a sexually transmitted disease that you can not get rid of and you pass it to everyone you have sex with. Or am I thinking too much

  18. Seriously nobody noticed that the prostitutes are two of the incarnations of “it” that we had previously seen (this time in a human “form”)? The same way that the people in the picture that Jay sees while someone (his mother?) is caressing her are previous incarnations of “it”. Most obvious: the man in that picture is the last incarnation of “it” in the pool scene.
    Of course I don’t know what the hell it means, but it led me to think that the whole thing has something to do with Jay and the people in her past or… what the hell, I don’t know! Damn, it’s all so puzzling!

  19. The man at the pool scene was the girls’ father, who killed himself when they were younger (likely by dropping something electrical into the tub). Also note how the film’s time period is purposely in constant conflict with itself, and how the mother is always a drunken blur. And wtf is that Yara girl (the one with the weird clamshell e-reader) even doing there? She’s just “there”.

  20. This film makes me want to have sex even more. The premise was so bad, it gave me cancer. So there is no reason for me to hold back on having sex anymore

  21. Soon after Greg gets killed, and after Paul asks Jay if she remembers where they were when they first kissed, it cuts to a shot outside of a youngish, redheaded boy riding up to Greg’s house on a bicycle. It took until the third viewing for me to notice that this is the same youngish, redheaded boy who crawled through the broken boathouse door and screamed at Jay during the lake scene.
    Anyone else catch that?

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