As the 2022 year hits a sluggish stride with Omnicron making it feel like 2021, a handful of indie horror movies have popped up on video-on-demand. Canadian home invasion thriller, See For Me, is amongst these early entries. While home invasion thriller are nothing new in the genre, See For Me introduces a novel twist on the tropes. Borrowing a bit from the Audrey Hepburn 1960s thriller, Wait Until Dark, and mixing in modern technology and apps, this Canuxploitation thriller has largely impressed critics. Like Mike Flanagan’s Hush, See For Me also promises a strong female protagonist in place of tired victim clichés.
Once an Olympic downhill skiing prospect, a degenerative eye disease has left Sophie Scott blind. Though she’s given up on any Para-Olympic hopes, Sophie refuses to rely on her mother’s sympathy. Instead, she takes occasional jobs housesitting to earn money steal the odd household item to sell through a friend. But her latest housesitting gig takes an unexpected turn when three mysterious men break into the house in the middle of the night. Trapped and alone, Sophie connects with gamer, Kelly, through an app See For Me. Now Sophie must rely on Kelly to be her eyes and find a way out before it’s too late.
See For Me Finds News Ways To Squeeze Tension Out Of An Old Subgenre
Though we’ve seen the home invasion set-up in dozens of movies, filmmakers from Ti West (You’re Next) to Mike Flanagan (Hush) have reminded us that there’s always new scares to mine in the subgenre. Here, director Randall Okita takes a couple of simple updates on the formula and breathes life into this thriller. Like Wait Until Dark and Hush, See For Me features a protagonist who initially seems vulnerable. No, Okita and screenwriters Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue don’t exploit Sophie and, in fact, do quite the opposite in the development of her character. But See For Me puts the audience next to Sophie as she feels along walls and floors not sure if her intruders around the corner. Okita wrings out maximum tension from these moments showing visual flair for staging suspense.
But See For Me puts the audience next to Sophie as she feels along walls and floors not sure if her intruders around the corner.
Little time is wasted from frame to frame. This is a tightly paced 90 minutes where Okita expertly foreshadows Sophie’s plights and story twists. Other thrillers have used technology as integral parts of plot or tools for generating twists with varying degrees of success. Here, the See For Me app works on two levels. On one hand it pushes the story forward and builds tension – whether it’s the push-and-pull between Sophie and Kelly or a slowly draining cellphone battery. But it also fuels one of the movie’s stronger aspects – in particular, it’s focus on characters and the relationship between Sophie and Kelly.
See For Me Benefits From Strong Characters and Amazing Lead Performances
In addition to Okita’s style and tight pacing, See For Me benefits from what should be a star-making performance from Skyler Davenport. A relative newcomer, Davenport’s turn as ‘Sophie’ is a layered, magnetic characterization that offers audiences a strong protagonist for whom to cheer. Specifically, Davenports channels a strong resolve and stubbornness alongside a vulnerability that heightens the more suspenseful scenes. At no point, however, is Sophie a victim – Davenport gives us a complex and charming protagonist who defies clichés. In addition to Davenport’s performance, Jessica Parker Kennedy’s (The Flash) ‘Kelly’ gives us an equality charismatic, strong character, With less screen time, Kennedy may have some viewers wanting to see more of her character in a spin-off.
…Davenport gives us a complex and charming protagonist who defies clichés.
Be sure to save some credit to the screenwriters, York and Gushue. They’ve put effort into craft fleshed-out characters rather than doling out cardboard cut-out’s. Even See For Me’s villains occasionally go against the grain. Sons of Anarchy fans will immediately recognize Kim Coates. Though he’s not left with much screentime, he gives us a quick reminder as to why he should be in more movies. None of our other villains are familiar faces. However, it’s a bit refreshing to see most of these characters exhibit some personality and, occasionally, deviate from expectations. In spite of her billing, Laura Vandervoort’s role in the movie is not much more than a cameo.
See For Me An Immensely Crowd-Pleasing Thriller
Just two weeks into a new year and we have an early candidate for a ‘Best of’ list. See For Me blends its home invasion and technology pieces into a tightly paced roller-coaster ride of suspense. But what sets See For Me apart from other thrillers is its strong characters. Davenport’s performance is fantastic as is her character’s inner and immediate conflict. And the growing friendship over the movie between Sophie and Kelly gives an extra emotional core. Ultimately, See For Me is immensely satisfying, working a simple premise like another recent thriller, Run.