My most burning question is how is You Should Have Left not an unauthorised spoof of Blumhouse movies? It’s about a novelist who along with his wife and child goes to stay at a remote location for a while, only to find out that the house they’re living in does some creepy stuff to its residents. Now you might be thinking, that sounds an awful lot like ‘The Shining’? You’d be absolutely correct and on top of that both of the films are based on novels. Again, with one main location and limited cast to minimise the budget, it certainly follows the successful Blumhouse formula but the spoof part comes from its incompetence to be anything. Cool location doesn’t matter when a film not only fails its attempted genre but also the genres close to that.
Because of the eventual rating and what-not, there’s going to a bit more talk about the lesser things about the movie but I want to quickly point out that technically it’s your typical horror stuff. Camera work, sound, music and editing are all there to support the story so it’s not as draining when you’re in the middle of it. The problems begin to arise after you’re done with it. You start by wondering the travesty which is the husband (Theo) and wife (Susanna) pairing who are played by Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried. There is, and I can’t stress this enough, zero romantic chemistry between them. The actors’ age difference is only one of the factors but it’s the first one you notice, you feel like they should be a father and a daughter also from the way they talk to each other and that’s not a pleasant thought afterwards. Child actor Avery Tiiu Essex who plays the daughter Ella does actually a pretty good job and also looks like Seyfried.
Director and writer David Koepp doesn’t seem to have a grasp on the kind of movie he wants to make out of this. Sometimes you don’t get exactly what you were promised in terms of genre but it’s often pretty good because it succeeds in other avenues. With ”Left”, Koepp very much fails to do that. We’re mostly promised some psychological horror but the film lacks any sort of scares or torment. Genres close to it are thriller and drama but there’s not enough suspense for it to be thriller since there are just dream sequences and everything is explained with dialogue. There is no drama because the people are just roles and not characters; Susanna is just an actor, Theo is a writer who might have killed his ex and the kid is just a regular kid. That’s all you get in the beginning and again at the end. Also everything that happens at the end, you’ve already figured out all of it in the middle act.
Frowneys: Screenplay, characterisation, atmosphere
Can’t wait for the 2059 film sequel to this: Doctor House (starring Hugh Laurie).