See For Me is a home invasion thriller that throws a few curve balls at its audience. In the vein of Mike Flanagan’s Hush, See For Me stars Skyler Davenport as Sophie, a young blind woman who is cat and house sitting in a bougie home in upstate New York. What should be a routine job for Sophie turns into a nightmare when she must survive three home invaders. The film joins a growing subgenre of horror that centers on individuals with disabilities, but who aren’t held back by them. See For Me is an exciting home invasion thriller that dares to challenge viewers with a complicated lead, even if it somewhat fumbles the execution.
The premise is simple enough and the home invasion survival thriller is a staple within the horror genre. See For Me has two primary aspects that make it a compelling watch — the protagonist is blind, outsourcing help through an app called "See For Me," and she is stubbornly unsympathetic. It is an interesting tactic to have the audience rooting for her, but it's hard to when certain details about her come to light and when her abrasive “I want to do things on my own” attitude is needlessly harsh to well-meaning people. However, this dynamic makes for an interesting experience as the meek mouse in this dangerous cat-and-mouse game is just as feral and dangerous as the cat.
Making up for the lack of sympathy from the protagonist is Sophie’s eyes in this fight for survival, Kelly. Played by Jessica Parker Kennedy, Kelly is a soothing presence that offers Sophie the helping hand she needs as well as a subtle reminder to Sophie that needing help on occasion is okay. Davenport and Parker Kennedy are well-matched as actors with chemistry that is evident even if their interactions are via phone. Their dynamic adds a lot to the suspense of the film as Kelly guides Sophie through her precarious situation. The film is also a brilliant ad for tools such as the app that aid the visually impaired.
However, the audience is right there with Sophie and Kelly because most of the visuals are much too dark to see anything that is happening. As Kelly often asks Sophie to slow down, panning her phone slowly from right to left to help her see what’s going, the audience is internally asking for the same. Director Randall Okita and cinematographers Jordan Oram and Jackson Parrell do well in the first act, setting up the tension through its visual palette. But once the sun goes down they drop the ball a bit. Okita’s directing is serviceable as he manages to capture much of the drama and action well enough throughout. However, with the film so dimly lit a lot of energy is required to try and make out what is happening.
While See For Me is lacking in the visual sense, the story is compelling even if the lead is not entirely likable. She is, in many ways, an unsuspecting victim of a horrible crime and is justifiably scared. Without getting too much into it, let’s just say that Sophie’s intentions aren’t always pure. Therein lies See For Me's secret weapon, a lead who is capable of being worse than the film's villains. Better yet, the film has a co-lead who can sympathize with her.
Davenport and Parker Kennedy sell the audience characters who aren’t inherently bad, but are capable of doing bad things. It’s a big gamble to twist audiences’ expectations by subverting the archetype of the central “scream queen,” but it is a gamble that somewhat pays off because it's unclear what is going to happen. All in all, See For Me would make for an interesting companion piece to Hush and Run. On its own, it's well worth a watch, especially for its leads.
Next: The Kindred Review: Formulaic Horror-Thriller Is Not Interesting Or Scary
See For Me released in select theatres, VOD and to digital platforms on January 7. The film is 92 minutes long and is not rated.
- See For Me (2022)Release date: Jan 07, 2022