I SEE YOU, the latest film from director Adam Randall (iBoy), written by Devon Graye, is a mind-fuck of a film that will keep you guessing and on your toes through its entire duration. The film stars Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets, Twister), Jon Tenney (Tombstone, True Detective S3), and Judah Lewis (Demolition, The Babysitter).
In a perfect town filled with perfect families, twelve-year-old Justin Whitter has gone missing, Greg Harper (Jon Tenney), lead investigator on the case, struggles to balance the pressures of the investigation which has brought to attention a similar case thought to be buried in the past, while finding a way to forgive his well-heeled wife, Jackie (Helen Hunt), for a recent infidelity. Great strain is put on the family as Jackie’s guilt slowly gnaws away at her grip on reality, and when a malicious presence manifests itself and puts their young son, Connor (Judah Lewis), in mortal danger, the cold, hard truth about evil in the Harper household is finally uncovered.
With this being my first time physically attending SXSW, I was beyond stoked to check out as many Midnighters as I could. I SEE YOU was the first film on my list to check out and now that I’ve had a few days to process the film, I can say with confidence that this is one of my favorite films of the festival, and the year. Knowing that this was Helen Hunt’s first horror/thriller, I was intrigued with the notion that the beloved Academy Award winner would be stepping into the genre that I love so much, and I’m happy to report that she does not disappoint. I SEE YOU is a complex thriller, one that puts you on a journey of twist and turns, but most importantly, reminds you that the consequences of your actions can, and will, come back to haunt you.
Where the film really shines, though, is through the writing style of Devon Graye. He’s able to craft a tightly wound tale that takes the viewer on a harrowing journey to find the truth. There was never a moment where I felt like the film was dragging or that there were copious amounts of plot holes. It felt as though each moment was carefully crafted so as to have the most impact for the viewer leaving a lasting effect. Director Adam Randall took what Devon Graye hatched and executed it superbly so that even though there were multiple stories to follow it never felt too confusing. I also really liked the editing style, which really came into play during the last half of the film, as it was the perfect instrument used to prepare for the ultimate unveiling.
Along with the expertly crafted writing and directing style, the performances were what really hooked the viewer in. We learn early on in the film that our main characters are part of a fractured family. The believability that each performer showcases are one of the main reasons as to why the reveal is so shocking. Helen Hunt, as Jackie Harper, is cold and distant, barely acknowledging the consequences of her decisions while trying to maintain a level of stoicism that is quite remarkable. Judah Lewis, as Connor Harper, is a teenager grappling with the emotional toll brought on by the divide forming between his mom and dad. Jon Tenney, as Greg Harper, is the wounded partner coming to terms with the infidelity of his wife while trying to solve a disturbing and horrific case surrounding the disappearance of two kids. Each of these characters makes you feel something – whether that’s anger, sadness, heartache, or rage, which makes it all the more difficult to not let emotional attachments form while watching the film.
I SEE YOU isn’t a happy film, but it is a smart film. You won’t leave feeling like you experienced a level of euphoric joy, but it will remind you that you can never quite trust anyone but yourself. As the major plot points began to reveal themselves, and I learned what was causing a lot of the supernatural elements to occur, I realized it was actually one of my worst fears coming to life. With that said, this film packs a hell of a punch and will leave you paranoid long after the credits have rolled, easily making this one of the best films of the year. As of right now, I SEE YOU is doing the festival circuit, but keep your eyes and ears peeled for when it may come to a city near you.
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