To say expectations were high for this is an understatement. This was written and directed by Aneesh Chaganty, who gave the world Searching, which was without a doubt my favourite film when it was released that year, and is probably in my personal top 5 of all time.
I was incredibly excited by the trailer, but there was a small niggling in my head that I knew what was going to happen. I mean, the trailer made it pretty obvious that (spoiler) the mother was keeping her hostage so it wasn’t really shocking that that turned out to be the case. To go from the SHOCKING reveal in Searching to this can’t be seen to be anything other than a let down. Searching made you feel dumb you didn’t figure it out, this seems to go the opposite way and try to make you feel smart for figuring it out almost immediately.
But maybe that wasn’t the point. Maybe it wasn’t about the end point, but the journey, and this is one hell of a journey. Everything in this film is expertly done, the performances, the music, the directing, everything is as you need it to be. It’s so well done that even though you know what is going to happen, you’re never bored or distracted throughout. THIS is how you build tension in a movie.
Crucially, it’s incredibly minimalistic, a listed cast of 4 and 99% of the film takes place inside the house. This means that you REALLY feel the characters isolation and desperation. It’s an incredibly smart choice that really suits the film. So many films that try to do this get bored of their locations and characters so break it up with other locations, but this usually breaks the tension completely. So for this film to have the intelligence and bravery to stick to it’s guns for the betterment of the film is admirable.
So yes, go see this film. You probably do know where it’s going, but it’s great. And I haven’t seen a closing scene this genius since Knives Out.