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You Should Have Left - Movie Review

You Should Have Left, a movie written and directed by David Koepp and stars Kevin Bacon and it is about a man and his family, they go to a secluded house in Wales, he's had a difficult past, there's a crime that some people believe he committed, but he has always maintained his innocence and while they're at this house, strange things start to happen, writing appears in his notebook that he's positive he didn't write, hallways seemed to stretch on endlessly and a mystery develops about the house that he tries to solve.

I was really looking forward to this movie, I'm a fan of David Koepp, I like a lot of his films that he has written and some that he's directed, as far as directing goes stir of echoes which also stars Kevin Bacon is really good, I like secret window a lot, and as far as writing goes, spider-man, panic room, Jurassic Park, I've really enjoyed a lot of his screenplays, some of them are not as good though, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull being a prime example.

You Should Have Left is a plum house production and in some ways it follows all of the rules that Blum House looks for, a scare every 10 minutes or so, secluded location, limited cast, certain things that Blum house always wants, this movie fits into those guidelines very well, but at the same time it doesn't and I'll get into that, this was a vastly disappointing film for me in a way, I approach the movie almost like it was a mash-up between secret window and stir of echoes, , unfortunately this film is nothing like those movies, not just in quality but in story, he's definitely not a screenwriter, I don't know why that's still on IMDB, the original book this film was based off is about a screenwriter, that synopsis seems to be written from the book synopsis not the actual film, as Forrest Kevin Bacon's character, he's basically a nobody, he's defined entirely by an event in his past we know so little about, basically described to us by his wife as they talked to their young daughter, she learns about it for the first time and she figures out her father's history, it's this moment that's supposed to sort of develop the story, but it does very little for us, it's a movie filled with non characters.

Amanda Seyfried is also an on character, she plays an actress and that's really it, she has no history, she has very little development, she's basically there as a device to get Kevin Bacon alone in the house sometimes, technically, this is a haunted house movie, but the entire thing is shot in one of the most unscary looking houses I've seen in film recently, this is a super modern sleek LA looking design if I've ever seen one, it's extremely well lit too, there's light everywhere, you expect darkness in a haunted house movie or a horror film, or just a plain old scary movie which this is trying to be.
So, since in the original book, the main character was a screenwriter, I can only assume that kept decided to scrap that because he already made secret window, which was about a novelist kind of losing his mind in a secluded space, so I'm assuming he was like I don't want to repeat myself so I'll scrap that, instead, we get nobody, I have no idea who Kevin Bacon is in this movie, or what he does or what he wants to do, what his dreams and hopes are, I have no idea since his wife is an actress, I guess the assumption is that she makes the money and he stays at home, okay we're in 2020 I understand that happens, but for the main character in a movie to have no goals no thoughts no aspirations, he doesn't seem to want to do anything except go on a vacation, it's a really boring character.

Eventually the film does find an emotional core of some kind, it starts to feel more like a drama and less like a horror, it feels like Koepp couldn't really land on either one while making them, it's great to have drama in horror and all, great horror does, but when your film seems largely about a drama and a family dispute of some kind, that's not gonna work for a scary movie, it eventually becomes less about you should have left this haunted house and more of you should leave your haunted marriage and that's interesting, but it's too little too late, I didn't care about these characters before and you're not gonna magically get me to care about them now, there's also tons of unanswered questions in the movie, those unexplained notes in his book, one of them is explained sort of, and the there isn't, even in their attempt to explain it, it doesn't really make sense for why it happened when you start to really think about it, it throws in this unnecessary sci-fi element to it that just makes the whole thing feel really convoluted and it's super undercooked, you never really learn anything about it it's just this quick moment that seems almost like it was just a throwaway thing all of a sudden.

The film is basically a mashup of 1408, secret window and stir of echoes, all films I like, but it's just spare parts, there's none of the ingenuity of their previous collaboration and it's also filled with entry-level scares for a horror.


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