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I See You Film Review: Hauntingly Good Horror Thriller

Helen Hunt stars in Adam Randall’s crime thriller I See You, a hauntingly good puzzle of a film with twists you won’t see coming.

The horror/thriller genre has been tackled so many times that it’s hard to find a genuinely unpredictable suspenseful movie that doesn’t feel like something you’ve already seen before. Supernatural presences in haunted houses, untold family secrets, people who are actually ghosts and ghosts who are actually people… We’ve seen it all. Yet, in between clichés and dejà-vus, it’s still possible, sometimes, to find a film that is just so consistently well-written, surprisingly complex and spine-tingling in all the right ways that you know, from the very first scenes, that it’s one you won’t forget. Adam Randall’s I See You is one of those movies.

It’s also one of those movies that is about so much more than it seems. I See You has a way of revealing pieces of its complex narrative a little at a time, which is exactly what makes it possible for it to switch between the horror, psychological thriller and crime drama genres and successfully belong to all three.

The story revolves around a small-town family who is being torn apart by the aftermath of an affair. Jackie (Helen Hunt) is to blame for the Harpers’ complex family dynamics, as her infidelity justifies both her son Connor’s (Judah Lewis) angry attitude towards her and her husband Greg’s (Jon Tenney) passive behaviour. But the affair is not the only unusual thing happening to the Harpers and their town. Inside the house, objects are being misplaced. Outside, a 12-year-old boy is missing, and Greg, who also happens to be a detective, is investigating on this inexplicable and eerie disappearance.

loud and clear reviews i see you
Judah Lewis in I See You (Philipp Blaubach/ © ISY Productions LLC)

These mysterious events don’t even begin to explain what I See You is all about, but revealing any other detail would ruin the best part of the film – that is, how a series of unexpected, shocking, clever twists have been brilliantly woven into its narrative with such attention to detail that you will find yourself thinking about them for a long time after it’s over. Not only that, but it’s only in the very last sequence of the movie, a few minutes before the end credits roll, that you will come to understand what I See You is actually about.

I See You is about a family who lives in a town where kids are disappearing and unexplicable things are happening, but it’s also about so much more than that. The film revolves around a bigger picture that we fail to notice until the very end, one that is deeply linked to all those little details that don’t seem to make sense, one in which what we don’t see is infinitely more important than what unfolds on the screen. It’s by looking at all these events from a different angle that we can fill those clever narrative gaps, where uncomfortable truths and enigmatic characters lie.

In a movie that relies on its actors’ incredible performances to defy our expectations, things aren’t always what they seem. It takes a long process to uncover its many mysteries, but it’s such an entertaining ride, in its dark, disquieting way, that we can’t help but be intrigued by every single piece of this intricate puzzle. And so we find a house that is so geographically defined that it becomes a character in itself, an extremely relatable person we unexpectedly warm up to, and a multifaceted, puzzling character whose real motives are revealed just when you least expect it. Our sympathies shift from a character to the other, as strangers become familiar, bad guys become heroes, victims become villains and then turn into victims all over again.

I See You is many things. It’s an edge-of-your-seat horror film that will surprise you and entertain you in many ways, and it’s a beautifully dark psychological thriller that bravely delves into uncomfortable, unsettling truths. It’s a story about family secrets whose relevance only comes through at the end, it’s a mystery to solve whose clues constantly make us change our mind about its characters, and it’s a truly impressive puzzle of a film whose pieces don’t make any sense, until, all of a sudden, they do.

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I See You premiered at South by Southwest on 11th March 2019, and its European Premiere happened at the Edinburgh Film Festival on 26th June. The film is now available to watch on digital and on demand.

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