IMDb Rating: 5.3/10
R |1h 33min | Horror, Mystery |18 June 2020 (USA) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 46% Rotten (Critic Reviews) | 36% Rotten (Audience)
Director: David Koepp
Writers: David Koepp, Daniel Kehlmann
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, Avery Tiiu Essex
Movie Tagline: “The House Finds You”.
IMDb summary: A former banker, his actress wife, and their spirited daughter book a vacation at an isolated modern home in the Welsh countryside where nothing is quite as it seems.
I’m the type of horror fan that has to be completely drawn into the story and its characters. I have to believe these characters have a purpose and above all; I have to be at least a little fearful for the characters OR scared for myself because the film is scary. I am a bit of a scaredy-cat and therefore; I look for scares in my horror films.
You Should Have Left didn’t really touch on any of these aspects very well. To begin with, I felt a total lack of chemistry between our principal characters played by Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried. I don’t particularly dislike either of them as actors, in fact, I like Kevin Bacon and he’s had a decent run with the horror film genre. So I’m putting their lack of chemistry down to the characters they’re playing. They are a couple who are going through a tough time. But I should care about that, and I really didn’t.
As the film progresses, you get to understand that Kevin Bacon’s character Theo has been through some serious shit in his life. And his wife, Susanna, doesn’t really seem all that phased by it. So the less she cares about it, the less I do. Kind of makes sense, right? So out of what I can only think of as pure desperation, Theo decides that they should get away from it all and bond like a proper family. Their daughter, Ella, is the cutest though, and at some points in the film, she was really the best thing about it.
Into the horror bits (or lack of). So they go off to Wales to get away and end up in this rather modern-looking house in the middle of nowhere. Now, knowing nothing about this movie, the house itself just looked off to me. There was something about it, as if it really didn’t belong there at all. Turns out, the house is actually the most interesting character in the film. I know a house can’t be a character, but it serves as the basis for most of the plot, so to me, it might as well be a character.
The house is weird, like very weird, and this slowly affects Theo’s already fragile state of mind. The disjointedness between Theo and his wife only increases as they struggle to connect. Their kid, Ella, is just as weirded out by the house as anyone, but she’s holding it together a little better than her parents. Push comes to shove, the parents have a fight over what looks like infidelity in their relationship, and the house is finally alone with Theo and his daughter.
The house swallows the two of them whole by turning out to be a maze of hallways and doors that disappear. Physically, they’re present, but it’s almost as if the house is separating Theo from his daughter on purpose. This is the most excitement you’ll have in this film.
For me, the house really works well as a plot piece and the driver of the “fear” that Theo and his daughter feel. But that’s all there is. I don’t think it worked very well with introducing Theo’s past into the mix. It was like the writer was trying to tell two different horror stories at once and missing the point completely. And that is that there has to be a powerful connection between the characters and the fear they feel. Ella was well scared. Theo seemed scared for her. But to me, it was as if he had been going through the motions, and there was nothing surprising at all about his connection to the house.
It’s a little on the bland side as far as horror flicks go. Bland enough to miss altogether? I’d say give it a watch if you can’t find anything else and you’re all out of Halloween re-watches.