Friday Film Review--"You Should Have Left"

Jul 31, 2020

A new movie, streaming on demand, proves that not all spooky houses are the same.     Rick Brough explains why, with this week’s Friday Film Review.

The movie is called “You Should Have Left”, which lets you know, at least, not to expect a musical.

It reminds you of the box-office smash of a couple years ago—“Get Out.”     Or the tag line from “The Amityville Horror”—“For God’s Sake, get out”  

Or the title of a future film—“No Seriously, You should Get the Hell Out.”

Kevin Bacon plays Theo Conroy, an uneasy-looking character who is, we’re told, a former banker.   

He is married to Susanna, a successful movie actress who is young enough to be his daughter, which means Theo hangs around in the background of her life of movie sets and handsome leading men and simulated sex scenes.

But his burden isn’t just about being a movie-star husband.     There are hints about some famous notorious episode in his past life, something that still occasionally has strangers recognizing him, with suspicion in their eyes.

Hoping to get their marriage back on track, Theo his wife (played by Amanda Seyfried) and precocious daughter (played by Avery Tiiu    Essex) take a rental in an isolated house in rural Wales.

It is not, however, a dank castle or a dusty old mansion.     It’s a modernist-looking residence of brick, concrete, colorless wood paneling and picture windows.     In Park City, it would look like the first spec house up for sale in a 200-uinit development.

On the surface, the story is about Theo’s marriage coming undone, and the bond with his daughter becoming more and more precious.

But we also get spooky shadows, dark figures jumping around in the background, and mirrors and passageways and Floor Area Ratios that just don’t behave the way they’re supposed to.   

You get plenty of routine jump scares.    But the movie more often tries to creep you out in subtle ways.

In fact, it looks like an update of the 1963 classic “The Haunting.”  It’s the study of a doomed character—Julie Harris in the older film, Bacon in this one—who is meant to be in this predicament.   The house wants them.

The director and screenwriter, David Koepp, has worked on a long line of thrillers, such as the “Jurassic Park” and “Mission Impossible” franchises.   He collaborated with Kevin Bacon on the ghost story “Stir of Echoes” in 1999.

On my “Things that go bump in the night’ scale, I give “You Should Have Left” four out of five.    For the Friday Film Review, I’m Rick Brough.