June 18, 2020 You Should Have Left (Movie Review)
Sometimes the most haunting and terrifying thing in life is ourselves. Whether it be a bad dream, past experience, or deep-seeded regret, more often than not, the monster you are running from is yourself. Food for thought, these are some aspects that drive the story behind the new Psychological Horror film You Should Have Left due out Thursday, June 18th through Universal Pictures.
Initially scheduled for a theatrical release, but shifted to On Demand due to COVID-19, the film is based on a 2019 novel written by Daniel Kehlmann, features a screenplay by acclaimed Filmmaker David Koepp (Mission: Impossible 1996, Panic Room 2002), and includes the strong cast of Kevin Bacon (Footloose 1984, Mystic River 2003), Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia! 2008, Les Misérables 2012), and Avery Essex (Modern Family series). Additionally, it is yet another film under the powerhouse Blumhouse Productions banner which is breathing new life into the Horror genre.
The story follows Theo Conroy, a retired, successful man with a foggy past. He, and his younger wife Susanna (Seyfried), are looking to piece together their marriage, so they head off to a remote luxury home on the Welsh countryside with their daughter Ella (Essex). At what seemed like a good idea at first quickly turns to a nightmare for all involved as it appears the house has a life of its own. Mostly effecting Theo, his nightmares become more and more real the longer they stay inside the house… will he survive?
More psychological than spooky scary, or jump scare scary, the story of You Should Have Left is not exactly as it seems, meaning you should not be focused on the house. Why? Because this is not really as much a haunted house story as it is a haunted person story. The house certainly does have some sort of supernatural force behind it, but Theo really becomes his own worst enemy. As stated, he is a person with a foggy past that seems to progressively creep into his psyche more each day. This is compounded by his immense love for his sweet little daughter who has given him new meaning in life, inspiring him to go to any length to protect her. A tricky task, again, much of the story is not what it seems in You Should Have Left, and much like the characters, you will find yourself torn by the time the credits roll.
Is You Should Have Left a haunted house film? No. Is it a murder film? No. Is it a Horror film? Yes, because it plays on the emotions of the darkest corners of your mind. That said, Bacon does a sensational job reuniting with Koepp for the first time since 1999’s Stir of Echoes. This is while Seyfried puts on a strong performance as his wife, and Essex, in her first ever film role, is sensational as their daughter. Which leads us to most effective aspect of You Should Have Left, the father/daughter relationship between Theo and Ella. No matter what Theo’s past might be, you can sincerely feel the love he has for his daughter, an aspect that makes the final outcome even more heartbreaking.
Overall, You Should Have Left is a tightly made psychological film that will stick with you long after you view it. Utilizing shooting locations to its advantage, the tension builds and strings along your curiosity all the way through. Worth checking out, Cryptic Rock gives You Should Have Left 4 out of 5 stars.