See For Me review – A new flavor of home invasion thriller!

See For Me review – A new flavor of home invasion thriller!

Home invasion thrillers have been done to death. We’ve seen them executed to perfection (Them), we’ve seen them deconstructed (Funny Games), and we’ve seen them subverted (You’re Next). We’ve seen the subgenre used as host to any of a number of low-budget flicks trying to capitalize on the popularity of stuff like The Strangers (a popularity that I…don’t get), often to underwhelming effect. Much like vampires, zombies, and found footage, it would appear that there is very little room for anyone to do much else with such an exhausted subgenre.


…much like vampires, zombies, and found footage, it seems every time I prepare to throw in the mental towel for something I’ve seen a billion times over, some intrepid filmmaker shakes up the formula and refreshes it once again. I am forced to bite down on my cynicism and enjoy the fruits of their imaginative labor. Such is the case with See For Me, which takes a basic home invasion concept and tweaks it with novel plotting to tell a story about a complicated, compelling protagonist. It’s an intense watch to be sure, but what resonates most is the murky ethics of it all. It’s best to let the film handle the exposition, as it does so in a fantastic fashion. I’ll keep things vague for ya.

See For Me follows Sophie (Skyler Davenport) a young professional skier who lost her vision in an accident. Her dreams of hitting the slopes are dashed, so now she makes money by freelancing as a house-sitter. She also likes to steal from the residences she cares for, because really, who is going to believe that a “poor little blind girl” would be capable of theft? That’s how she sees it at least. Her latest job is a little bit different, however. The client, a very well-todo woman, has no clue that her new cat-sitter is sightless, so when Sophie accidentally locks herself out of the house while having a smoke, she must use an assistance app to guide her back in. The app is called See For Me (that’s the name of the movie!) and it pairs the visually impaired with an optical chaperone of sorts. It connects Sophie with Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy) a gamer who works for the platform. Who better than a gamer to guide our hero via a video chat?

Did I say hero? Maybe that’s a little much. Sophie is not the most altruistic person on the planet, but that’s what makes her story so compelling. Yes, some unwanted intruders enter the home, leaving Sophie’s body in the hands of Kelly’s eyes (oof), but the blurred line between right and wrong is what separates this densely plotted story from others of its ilk. This isn’t a binary tale of good vs evil. Instead, the tension inherent to a home invasion thriller is employed to give an arc not just to our duo of protagonists, but to a few of the antagonists as well, even providing respectable depth to smaller characters that exist in the periphery.

Skyler Davenport is visually impaired in real life, so their depiction of how a sightless character moves through the world is indeed genuine. So often you’ll see a performer tasked with depicting physical feats, and despite doing as good a job as can be expected, the devil is always in the details (ever see an actor portraying a paralyzed character, only to clearly be assisting their movements with their legs legs? Or an onscreen musician who has clearly never held a guitar? I know I sure have).  Davenport nails these little details by nature, but that isn’t to detract from their performance. To both call attention to these small details and make sure they aren’t cartoonish takes a thoughtful actor with a strong sense of physicality. Davenport handles this task flawlessly, making for an atypical audience surrogate who is as complicated as any lost young person trying to make some money.

Small touches are what keep the uncommonly dense plotting from falling off the rails as well. We need to learn how the See For Me app works, while also learning about Sophie’s background, Kelly’s background, AND the dynamic/motivations of our intruders. At only 92 minutes, there’s not a lot of room to be as thorough as See For Me proves to be, and this can be credited to an extremely functional script and a style of direction that crams as much information on screen as can be without ever feeling overstuffed. Common film knowledge dictates that exposition is best handled in a “show, don’t tell” manner, and that’s very much the case here. I’d venture to say that if the audio were removed entirely, one could still get wrapped up in the film.

Speaking of soundtracks, the score by Joseph Murray and Lodewijk Vos (credited as Menalon), is the precise type of cutting-but-chill electronic sound that keeps the mood of the film in check at all times, working in concert with what’s on screen to maximize tension and subconsciously guide the viewer’s feelings without seeming busy or manipulative. Being a relatively low-budget affair, the look of the film can sometimes be a bit flat, but the score and the imaginative lighting help pave past this issue which has, in the world of horror, become a commonplace bugaboo. A very small complaint.

In the time since watching See For Me it has stuck with me quite a bit. As previously noted, I am tired of home invasion horror. I’ve seen the breadth of what it can do, and I’ve seen it all a million times over. See For Me resets the clock, utilizing a classic premise to tell a character-forward story, complete with the all the thrills one could ask for.

Directed by Randall Okita

Written by Adam Yorke, Tommy Gushue

Starring Skyler Davenport, Jessica Parker Kennedy, George Tchortov, Joe Pingue

Not rated, 92 minutes

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