Movie Review: You Should Have Left (2020)

Written and directed by David Koepp, You Should Have Left is a 2020 psychological thriller based on Daniel Kehlmann’s 2017 novel of the same name. When rich, retired banker Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon), his actress wife, Susanna (Amanda Seyfried), and their young daughter, Ella (Avery Essex) head to Wales for a vacation, and they find their house to be extravagant and far more spacious than the exterior suggests. Soon, the couple begin to have nightmares and notice time passing faster than it should as an unseen presence haunts their lives.

+ both Bacon and Seyfried are a lot of fun. Bacon is the main cast member for a reason, and it is his descent into madness (or something like it?) that is the major dramatic tension of the film, though I personally found him to be far less of an antagonist as the film made him out to be. And don’t worry, the older male/younger female thing is a plot point, not just a random pairing
+ there is a great use of shadows and reflections. The house itself is very reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining, as doors appear and disappear on a whim, and walls stand where once a hallway led to something deeper. The way the interior moves around is much like something else I watched recently, but I can’t remember what that was
+ the plot is relatively standard, with many of the twists and turns we’ve come to expect from these sort of films. The twist ending won’t shock or surprise you overall, but there may be a moment that leaves you with a small nod of approval

Kevin Bacon, and his not so compliant reflection.

– one plot revelation of the non-horror variety was treated as a real ‘well, it was bound to happen’ moment, and that just made me mad. The fact Conroy (Bacon) was seen as the bad guy in the circumstances just made me more confused and upset
– outside of the cool, non-euclidean spaces of the house, there is not much on offer in terms of scares. Loud noises and moving shadows are the go to, and it wouldn’t be a Blumhouse movie without at least a handful of jump scares
– the ending itself is vague, but also somehow entirely predictable. I did not care for it

> I don’t know what the popular consensus is on Kevin Bacon, but I like him. He looked more like an older Joel McHale than ever here

Should you see this film: A great premise and some tense scenes, but overall not very good. It’s the predictable kind of stuff you’d expect, and had it focused more on the house itself I think I may have liked it more.


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