The horror movie "It Follows" offers the most vivid scares of any genre picture since last year's "The Babadook," achieving them by simultaneously honoring conventions and subverting them.

If characters have sex in an average horror picture, everyone knows there's a good chance one or both of them will wind up dead soon thereafter.

Writer-director David Robert Mitchell constructs the entire movie around that premise, following teenage Jay (Maika Monroe) as she's consumed by sinister beings stalking her after a sexual encounter with the mysterious Hugh (Jake Weary), who warns her that they'll come for her until she passes the "disease" along.

What sounds like an obvious STD metaphor plays as something deeper and more elemental here, a work of body horror that evokes the wealth of conflicting feelings that run hand-in-hand with one's early sexual experiences.

This is an intricate piece of work that derives its significant scares out of sheer cinematic bravado, including slow 360 degree pans that create a sense of all-encompassing displacement, a jarring electronic score and a picture of suburbia circa the '80s that makes even the leafiest of suburbs loom as ominously as the monsters dwelling within.