Domestic thrillers are all the rage, and for good reason – we’ve been taught that if you keep your head down and work hard, everything you could ever want will be within your reach. It’s refreshing and frightening to think that even if you make all the right choices, your world could flip in an instant. When HERE BEFORE begins, we’re already in the aftermath of what once was a happy family, but as protagonist Laura (Andrea Riseborough) finds out, things can always get worse.
After another family moves in next door, Laura only intervenes with a mother’s instinct – seeing the daughter Megan forgotten after school, she offers her a ride, invites her over to dinner, and makes sure that she’s not being neglected. As time passes, Laura becomes more involved and begins to suspect that she and Megan have met before – and that Megan is not who she appears to be.
Riseborough shines in her role as a mother both exhausted and energized by grief: every range of emotion is shown and even when things start to spiral, you want it to work out. Even when the genre is often cruel to its protagonists, we still want that happy ending.
Megan (Niamh Dornan) also gives a standout performance – kids’ acting, especially in horror, can be hit-or-miss, but Dornan is fascinating to watch in every scene. Giving the sense that she both knows more than she lets on and is trapped in her situation, it’s no wonder that nearly every conversation held is about her.
At the end of the day, HERE BEFORE is about what happens when our grief gets the better of us. We don’t have to conquer it, but when the past controls our every move, we become shells of ourselves. The real fear comes from how easily that could be us.
Quiet and unnerving, Stacey Gregg‘s HERE BEFORE will have you questioning your experiences, your family, and everything you thought you knew about yourself.
HERE BEFORE is now available on Digital and On Demand.