I See You is a horror film directed by Adam Randall and written by Devon Graye. Adam is otherwise known for his directorial debut iBoy (that science-fiction film on Netflix with Maisie Williams), whereas Devon Graye has more “street cred” with horror fans. Prior to this film, Devon acted in the horror film 13 Sins and played teenage Dexter in the flashbacks of the titular television series. The cast includes Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, Judah Lewis, Libe Barer, Gregory Alan Williams, and Erika Alexander.
The concept of this film feels deceivingly straightforward and simple – a serial killer has run roughshod through the area for decades, and now, a family is being tormented by a masked man. Everything I wrote stands as an accurate representation of the film, but it is only a surface-level description, and might dissuade you from watching it with how familiar the premise and setup might feel.
If I can assure you of anything, it is that this film is filled to the brim with twists and deception, priding itself on misdirection and blending tones and genre tropes in hopes of creating something different. Whether the film necessarily sticks the landing on all its ambition will be a topic-of-discussion, I’ll have you, but, at the very least, I appreciate and respect that they did something unique with a worn concept.
The cinematography and music is on-point, both understated and efficient at a technical level. William Arcane’s score is sinister and works to the film’s advantage, offering an eerie sound that feels realized. I know a lot of lower-budget horror films sometimes don’t land well, and even though this is a film more about its high-concept, I felt it was important to mention the production-value is at a commendable standard.
The acting and characters are all enjoyable. Actresses and actors like Helen Hunt are, of course, veterans of the craft. Helen’s character is offered the most interesting character, I think, even if it doesn’t end up adding to a whole lot in the film by the end. Her character Jackie Harper has a lot working against her, having drove a wedge in the family after having an affair. This feels like a misdirection meant to draw your attention to her indiscretions against. The film offers multi – viewpoint perspectives that lend a hand in its mystique.
The screenplay is clever with actor turned trickster Devon Graye enjoying to build toward one idea and then, subsequently, pull the rug out from under viewers the very second they have a firm grasp of what is happening in the film.
The worst I can say about the film is that this is a tightrope walking deal and, at times, it does fumble in its effort. I have heard a lot of criticisms about the tonal shifts in this film, but I wasn’t as bothered by it as some might have been. Mostly because I think the concept engages enough that it feels minor.
It does tend to blur its plausibility and hurt its logic, concluding in a way that feels a little more contrived than I would have liked. The last thing I think you want for a film is for it to feel like it is trying too hard to shock you or to makes its story “rhyme too often,” and I think this film might have went a drop or two overcapacity in the end.
I believe I See You could have done with a more-taut, close-knit execution. It maybe even could have dialed back or done away with certain aspects in-favor of emphasizing other plot points. However, it is a finely-crafted freshman effort from Devon Graye and a solid and enjoyable film, bolstered by skillful production and performances, that isn’t afraid to try something new. I would recommend it.