I See You - Grimmfest Review

★★★★

Directed by: #AdamRandall

Written by: #DevonGraye

Starring: #HelenHunt, #JonTenney, #JudahLewis, #LibeBarer

Grimmfest Film Review by: Darren Tilby



American #suburbia: white picket fences, perfectly mowed lawns, and daily “Howdy neighbours!” Surely the perfect place to raise a family? But peel back the layers of this idyllic #suburbia, and you may find not all is as it first appears.


What’s lurking under the veil of #suburban tranquillity? That’s the concept behind writer Devon Graye and director Adam Randall’s thriller-mystery, #ISeeYou. A film in which strange happenings surround the family of Detective Greg Harper (Jon Tenney) as he investigates an apparent copycat abduction. Just below the surface of Detective Harper’s seemingly privileged home life lies a strained and tenuous family unit. Greg devotes his days to his work and spends his nights on the couch since finding out about his wife’s, Jackie (Helen Hunt), infidelity. Their son, Connor (Judah Lewis), also can’t forgive his mother for “breaking up our family!” But as apparent supernatural occurrences in and around the family home begin, it may be that deeper still, something more sinister is at work.


The first thing to say is that #ISeeYou is really a well-written piece of filmmaking. Its narrative is split into two differing points-of-view that both take part over the same period of time. The first is seen primarily from the various family members; while the other details the exploits of two “professional phroggers”, played by #OwenTeague and Libe Barer. The (actuality of the) “supernatural” aspect of this movie is what really sets it apart. You’re essentially getting two films for the price of one. The first is a supernatural #thriller, while the second is a murder-mystery. But it’s the method in which these two stories interweave and, ultimately, collide that makes the movie so fascinating.


And, yes, there are plot elements in this film which don’t play out as subtly as they should, and dialogue can be a little blatantly stated. Which can make any eventual revelation less effective. But there are so many layers here, you’ll never see them all coming, even if you’re a well-versed fan of the genre. From beginning to end, #ISeeYou keeps the viewer engaged with riveting performances (across the board), interesting characters, and well-judged misdirection.


Technical proficiency is essential in any film, obviously. But in the murder-mystery genre, it’s crucial. The manner of the framing, the way the camera moves, and the editing techniques employed can suggest and imply all manner of things. Linger on something for too long, and you overstate its importance, cut away too soon, and you might as well have not bothered. Thankfully, #ISeeYou gets this balance just right. #PhilippBlaubach’s superb visual composition and #JeffCastelluccio’s timely editing guide the viewer gracefully through the plot’s complexities, without ever feeling confused or untidy. No small feat for a film with two entwining narratives and a host of distorted plot elements between them.


Indeed, #ISeeYou is an impressive piece of work. In both its tone and approach, it reminded me of #RobertZemeckis#WhatLiesBeneath and #DavidKoepp’s #StirofEchoes. Two films I enjoyed very much. I just wish certain moments had played out with more subtlety and were less overtly obvious. But the film’s terrific performances, multi-layered narrative, and the plethora of (generally) well-placed allusions to the truth make this an unmissable experience.