There is something exciting about a good horror movie revolving around mirrors. From playing Bloody Mary as a kid, staring into your own reflection, hoping, but also dreading seeing anyone or anything else reflected in the flickering candlelight, to more modern tales like Candyman or Oculus we as a culture have been groomed to be wary of our own reflection, our self that is not our self. And maybe, just maybe, don’t look too closely at the movement you catch out of the corner of your eye.
BEHIND YOU adds yet another chapter to mirror mythology following young sisters, Olivia and Claire, as they come to live with their Aunt Beth after the death of their parents. Beth, burdened with a dark, mirror-caused past, has covered or taken down all of the mirrors in the house, locking the remaining mirrors in the basement which both girls are warned against going in. With it obvious that their aunt does not want them there any more than they want to be there, it is only a matter of time before the girls stumble upon that which Beth wishes to remain hidden and unleash that which the mirrors hold.
There are a few things that stand out showcasing that BEHIND YOU is an early film in the directorial pair of Andrew Mecham and Matthew Whedon‘s careers. The biggest is that while there are some truly brilliant moments in the film, the majority of it fell flat of what it could have been. Take the cinematography. The film touted some gorgeous, cinematic shots. The first moments in the foyer of the house, with the wide shots revealing not only the distance of the characters, both physically but also emotionally, were truly beautiful. Contrasting that, though, the majority of the night scenes were hard to follow, as the shots were so dark that it was hard to see where the characters were or what they were doing.
Olivia’s first encounter with the monster is a truly brilliant moment of the film. She discovers a mirror that has been wallpapered over. Catching a corner of the wallpaper, she peels it back, but what she sees in the reflection is not what she sees when she looks behind her. It’s such a quick scene, but it highlights the true potential of the writer/director pair of Mecham and Whedon. And while the direction that they chose to go in BEHIND YOU with the monster is riddled with horror tropes, from the ancient demon seeking its way to our world, to the creepy aunt who knows more than she is telling, the monster itself was deliciously creepy. As a sucker for the less-you-see-the-creepier-it-is, BEHIND YOU‘s monster did a fantastic job of being seen just enough for audiences to know that it is present and a threat, without showing too much. The brief glimpses of the figure in the mirror coupled with the otherworldly movements of James C. Morris, leant well to placing BEHIND YOU‘s monster in the Jaws category of letting audiences seeing just enough to scare them without falling into the pitfalls of Insidious‘s red demon who became comical rather than terrifying when fully revealed.
If Mecham and Whedon can shed the forced dialogue and the wooden acting that made it hard to connect with or care about any of the characters in this film, they stand to do some amazing work in the horror genre. For an early feature, BEHIND YOU showcases some moments that highlight a lot of potential for the pair, and I look forward to seeing what they do next. BEHIND YOU will be released on VOD on April 17, 2020.