Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Brian Duffield.
 Starring Kaityln Dever, Zack Duhame.
Horror, US, 93 minutes.


Streaming in the UK on Disney + from September 22nd.



In 2020, major worldwide events threw a spanner in the works for writer and director Brian Duffield’s career. His co-written script for the underrated UNDERWATER flickered briefly across cinema screens before COVID shut everything down. His script for LOVE AND MONSTERS was neatly realised but dumped onto Netflix later that year, and then his directorial debut of the teen romance/body horror that was SPONTANEOUS shuffled onto streaming platforms instead of getting the chance to truly make an impression with the larger audience it more than deserved. For some reason, his second film as writer and director has again been released straight to streaming, Disney + in the UK and HULU in the US. Hopefully, this time around, though, more of an audience will sit up and take notice of his undeniable skills.


Kaitlyn Dever stars as Brynn, a young woman living alone in a large, picturesque house outside a small town that seems to have cast her out for a past transgression. Late one night, she hears what appears to be an intruder sneaking around downstairs but encounters much more than she bargained for. What ensues afterwards sees Brynn trying to escape a far more sinister and far-reaching series of events that stretches out farther than the confines of her home while also having to deal with the sins of her own past.


This deserves to be the film where audiences sit up and start to take notice of Duffield as a director. Mixing up a small-scale situation with something much vaster, he turns several familiar elements into something original. Clocking in at just over ninety minutes, he delivers a crackerjack series of increasingly tense set-pieces that build on each other, delivering something that gets more and more creepy and outlandish to a conclusion that, without delving into spoilers, manages to uplift and unsettle. That he does all of this with only eight words of dialogue spoken throughout the whole film shows that Duffield is a writer and director we should have been paying more attention to all of this time.


Even with barely speaking, Kaitlyn Dever delivers some of the strongest work so far in her already impressive and varied career. With this, her first real genre role, she delivers a performance that delivers a nuanced character rich in backstory and is also entirely sympathetic, ensuring the film works as a character piece. In some ways, her work here, combined with Duffield’s and the twists that the story takes, make this film comparable to the finest hours of THE TWILIGHT ZONE in all its glory.


Fans of A QUIET PLACE and NOPE will find much to admire here, although it does feel that we have been cheated that we do not get to experience this on the big screen like we did with those films. Maybe next time we will get the chance with Duffield’s intriguing in-development script, VIVIEN HASN’T BEEN HERSELF LATELY. In the meantime, we should be grateful to see something this original and exciting.


Iain MacLeod




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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans