Susie Searches (Movie Review)

True crime shows and podcasts are incredibly popular nowadays. Many people have a morbid curiosity for the disturbing stories and accounts that true crime tells, however, how many people have ever stopped to wonder about those individuals that report on these grisly go-ons?

Released in theaters on July 28, 2023 through Vertical, Susie Searches introduces the audience to Susie (Kiersey Clemons: Dope 2015, The Flash series). A college student and burger joint worker, Susie is a bit of a misfit and a bit of a loner. In her spare time she works on her own solo true crime podcast. Susie has a knack for solving crimes, confidently resolving the end of every mystery novel her mother read her as a child, and Susie has absolute belief that she is a ‘Girlock Holmes.’ The only problem is that her podcast is largely unnoticed and unheard to her continued bemusement. Along with her flailing podcast, Susie also cares for her ailing mother and volunteers at the local sheriff’s office where she is tolerated rather than embraced. Altogether, Susie feels pretty lost in life.

Susie Searches / Vertical (2023)

However, Susie seizes her chance to change both her and her podcast’s fortunes when one of her fellow students goes missing; Jesse (Alex Wolff: Hereditary 2018, Oppenheimer 2023) who is campus heartthrob and a YouTuber whose videos on meditation have garnered him his own following. When Susie solves the case and finally gains the recognition she desires, she is thrilled, that is until it soon becomes clear that the case isn’t as clear cut as it first seemed.

Making her way as an actress through the years, Susie Searches is the directorial debut feature from Sophie Kargman; who also co-wrote the film alongside William Day-Frank. With the ever growing popularity of true crime, Susie Searches is a timely and interesting take on the phenomenon. It looks at the trend with a more questioning, cynical gaze, and as such it is a clever film that allows for reveals that may or may not be surprising to the audience; depending on their own cynicism and enjoyment of the genre.

Susie Searches / Vertical (2023)

Whilst it is refreshing to see a film about a true crime podcast that subverts expectations. That in mind, at times it does feel like this approach has removed the possibility of a rather more engaging and potentially fun film. Films such as Knives Out (2019) and See How They Run (2022) have shown that murder mysteries, as much as it sounds like a strange thing to say, can be fun. Mystery films can be especially fun when the detective solving the crime is a quirky and likeable character. Susie, with her misfit mentality and braces, felt like a character who would have perfectly fit this. For these reasons and more, Cryptic Rock gives Susie Searches 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Susie Searches / Vertical (2023)

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