Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror/thriller LYLE (2014) by writer director Stewart Thorndike.  To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:

“A mother’s grief over the disappearance of her toddler leads to horror.”

There is a simplicity to the style of this feature that gives it a wonderfully naturalistic feel. The sense of dread created by the grounded production values draws the viewer in from the beginning and keeps them hooked through the slow burn story. The other advantage to the low tech look is that it allows the performances to drive the plot.

The actors themselves are quite fantastic in their various roles whether they are portraying the more likeable people or those with more dubious agendas. Gabby Hoffman deserves to be singled out as the events hinge so strongly on the audience identifying with her plight that the entire movie would not work without a strong performance. Her portrayal of the paranoid mother to be engages the viewers’ sympathy thanks to the amount of nuance she adds to the character. It helps that she is supported by a cadre of great character actors that aptly bring to life the various odd or sinister roles.

The plot itself is just as minimalistic as the production values as it focuses in firmly on a mother’s need to protect her children. By keeping the motivations shadowy, we are left feeling just as untrusting of the supporting characters as our lead. It all culminates in a finale that I felt needed a bit more to be satisfying. I understand why things ended where they did, but there was a sense of something missing that left me wanting more from the plot.

All in all, this is a well-acted piece of paranoid cinema that creates a lot of atmosphere with very little. I enjoyed not knowing exactly the direction of the events within the movie, but felt like the ending needed something more to be fully satisfying.

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