Movies

SEE FOR ME, Sneaky Good


Review: SEE FOR ME, Sneaky Good

I can do that for myself, thank you very much.

See For Me
The film opens Friday, January 7, 2022 in movie theaters and various On Demand platforms via IFC Films. Visit the official site for more information.

Sophie is a young woman who is determined to do everything for herself, even if she can’t see anymore.

Her mother is overprotective and constantly worries about her daughter’s safety and welfare. Still, despite losing her sight some time before the story begins, Sophie (Skyler Davenport) is more than ready to strike out on her own, independent course.

Lately, she has been taking temporary jobs as a house-sitter, which leads her far out on a cold winter’s day to the large, luxurious home of Debra (Laura Vandervoort), who is heading out on a trip but wants someone to stay in her home while she’s away and feed her cat. For Sophie, the job came up at the last moment, but it seems perfect for her needs. With the aid of a friend who accompanies her mobile phone’s camera, she gets acquainted with the layout of the house, sets the alarm, and feeds the cat.

Then she promptly locks herself out of the house.

Sophie does not panic, instead downloading a new mobile-phone app, called “See For Me.” The operator with whom she connects, Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), calmly and crisply guides her back into the house through a method that is probably not covered in the official instruction manual. Relieved, Sophie settles in for the night.

It’s a very brief rest, though, as the home is about to be invaded.

Directed by Randall Okita from an original screenplay by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue, See For Me is the rare thriller that refreshes familiar terrain and refashions it into something new and invigorating. The premise of someone who is disabled in some way — usually a woman — falling victim to an invading presence of some sort — usually a man or men, but sometimes ghosts or zombies — is very familiar, especially for those of us who especially love genre movies.

So, the trick, plot-wise is to surprise the viewer with an unexpected twist or turn, narrative or otherwise; the more the better, and on this score, See For Me zigs whenever I expected it to zag, and zags where I expected it to zig, to the point that I just found myself completely caught up in whatever the filmmakers gave me.

Of course, a smart script can only lay the groundwork; then it’s up to the behind-the-scenes crew to capture the images, often overlaid and hidden by a labyrinth of shadows, yet expertly photographed by cinematographers Jordan Oram and Jackson Parrell. Film editor James Vandewater slices and dices in a manner that makes it easy to follow the flow of action, while maximizing the sometimes deadly impact.

Small as it is, the cast enhances the story still further, with Skyler Davenport, who is making her feature film debut (?!) giving a stand-out performance in the lead role, capably conveying the character’s inner strength and determination. Jessica Parker Kennedy makes her character come alive; someone heard only over the telephone could easily have become nothing more than a voice-over embodied, but she makes the most of it, aided by the director and editor, who clearly recognized the importance of the full-bodied role.

Without giving away the specific role that he plays, allow me to note the exquisitely subtle performance given by Kim Coates. As for director Randall Okita — only his sophomore feature, though he’s also directed a raft of narrative and documentary shorts — he displays a clear understanding of how to make a good thriller that keeps the audience on its toes.

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