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Film Review: You Should Have Left

Director:    David Koepp

Cast:    Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, Avery Tiiu Essex, Colin Blumenau, Lowri Ann Richards, Eli Powers

Rating:     MA

Running Time:     93

Australian Distributor:     Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia


Theo (Kevin Bacon) is a retired and wealthy banker who is trying to put his life back together after a dark event. Together with his wife and daughter, he rents an isolated and luxurious house in a field in Wales, which initially seems too good to be true. As the days go by in the house, strange stuff starts taking place that faces them with actual and past struggles.

Based on the novel from Daniel Kehlmann, director and screenwriter David Koepp join efforts once more with actor Kevin Bacon, with whom he already did a successful horror movie titled “Stir of Echoes”, in this modern haunted house story. 

Initially “You Should Have Left” bets for the artistic composition and the meticulous development of its characters. In both aspects it makes an excellent work, with atmospheric visuals that correctly deliver emotions of calm, suspense, and unwelcoming, and excellent acting from a cast for which this level of performance is expected. For most of the movie we only have three characters, interpreted by Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, and Avery Tiiu Essex. The three of them manage to get the viewer interested in their characters, their relationships, and their conflicts and to this, the house itself can be added on, that ends up working as an extra character.

While the movie progresses, it starts to show some jump scares and some chilling scenes. However, this aspect ends up not being very effective and hinders its atmospheric and artistic development.

In the case of Koepp’s script, he manages to establish characters and background stories that are interesting enough to get the attention of the viewer. However, I think the fan who is looking for something more in the traditional horror vein can get out disappointed. Although in many parts it flirts with the idea of unleashing the paranormal side, it does it in a tame manner and it loses effectiveness.         

“You Should Have Left” is presented as a modern haunted house story in an impressive and imposing mansion full of doors and light switches but offers a predictable story and nothing new to the genre. Its artistic side and the acting are its most important features, but its lack of identity plays against it.

I admire the attempt to recapture the magic of a Stephen King type novel with Kevin Bacon, but this was a job for a better script and a tighter production.

The film is now available ON DEMAND










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