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You Should Have Left – God Damn Nightmares

Just like the main character with the main house, I had a strange feeling I should have left this film the second I went into it. It would have been more beneficial if I probably instead re-watched 1408.

Summary

You Should Have Left (2020) is directed by David Koepp and produced by Blumhouse Productions.

It’s also based on the novel of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann.

The main cast members involve Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, and Avery Essex, as well as supporting actors such as Geoff Bell.

This psychological horror film is about a family of 3 that rent a private countryside house in Wales that contains traces of a dark and ominous history.

As time passes on, the 3 begin to experience unconventional occurrences that plague their minds and test the boundaries of their sanity.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Minimal Character Development

I can’t even remember some of the character’s names.

The character development in the plot was so poorly managed all I could see was the actors trying to play a role.

I know practically almost next to nothing about the main character, Theo. He struck me as a kind of disillusioned guy with no depth and insight.

In the first act, the movie shows him wandering around rooms turning off lights in a silly carrot-bait lead-off.

It kind of honestly reminded me of that one episode of Family Guy where James Woods follows and is distracted consistently by sugary sweets in a joyous tone saying, “Ooh piece of candy.”

The middle and final acts seldom do anything to further the development of any of the characters.

I actually grew impatient and restless with not being provided enough information as to the past history influencing their current motives.

The only thing I know, or at least can remember being shown to me, of Theo’s past is that he was a rich banker who feels guilty about a tragedy he was responsible for.

That’s literally about it.

As to the other characters, Susanna and Ella, not much can be deduced about any of them and their reason for being in the story, besides furthering the already dull narrative through interacting with Conroy.

No Horror Whatsoever

Most people I think will agree with me on this.

The horror aspect was not terror-inducing at all.

In fact, I don’t even think any jump scares the director employed were effective in the slightest sense.

Most of the scary scenes were just ridiculous-looking shadows with approach anxiety.

When the time came to give a little bit of a jolt, I already saw it coming from a mile away.

It’s really ironic that even though this was meant to be a horror flick, it instead portrayed itself as a weak drama.

The two spouses in a marriage frequently got into bouts of arguments in regards to issues pertaining to infidelity.

Eventually I just gave up reminding myself this was supposed to be related to horror and went along with the writers being confused and schizophrenic as to what the genre is meant to be.

Universal Pictures

Peculiar Plot Holes

I’m sure there are others that I didn’t notice, but there are two specific plot holes that made the whole story appear disorganized and incoherent.

One of them being when Bacon and Essex’s characters are walking through dark woods in the night where weird animal noises were being screamed from some unknown location.

I don’t know if I can even call them animal noises.

And what was the point of adding them on?

The story never went back to what that was, leaving me with a sense of disappointment and anger at the same time.

Another plot hole was when Bacon’s character went shopping for groceries at a local vendor, and after he went back to his car, some random lady was seen standing by it, only to leave mysteriously with some enigmatic phrase about him and his family not belonging there.

Again, the story doesn’t revert back to that and explain what the meaning and purpose of that was to the exposition. It just bafflingly leaves it unanswered.

Lifeless Performances

Both Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried just weren’t convincing enough to pass themselves off as fictional characters in a fictional story.

All I saw was Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried playing a mock marriage in a far-off countryside.

I will commend Avery Essex however.

Her performance was good up until near the ending where it got mixed in with Bacon and his endless train of acting madman-like.

The character development overall with all 3 of them was simply not up to par with what it should have been, or at least what it needed to be.

Final Thoughts

Take it from me, look at the title of this movie and understand that that’s exactly what I should have done a long time ago.

Not to be too overly critical, but if this script was written by an unknown writer instead of David Koepp, who’s known for great screenplays such as Jurassic Park and Spiderman, I’m pretty sure it would never end up seeing the light of day.

Either that or it would get shipped off quickly to DVD and probably still not be noticed.

Whatever the case, You Should Have Never Left didn’t impress me that much, and I left the ending feeling like my time and attention was tricked out of me.

Not only was the character development and story handled shamefully badly, it wouldn’t even make sense to call this a horror film as there was nothing in it that could remotely be categorized as horrific.

FP Score – Unsatisfactory

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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