“That’s your daughter. … Act like it.”
Story: The girl from The Kissing Booth is a murderer. The detective (and the guy on death row) in The Killing try to cover it up.
Scares: Mostly thrills.
Splat factor: Some glimpses of a dead body.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Nothing but the realization that I spent 90 minutes on this.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Based on the real life Amanda Knox case…and if that’s true, it’s very loosely based indeed.
Trick or Treat?: Welcome to the Blumhouse! This new Amazon Prime series kicks off with this 2018 film that’s more thriller than horror, with a powerhouse cast and gorgeous camerawork adding a little extra to Lie‘s simple premise. As Kayla’s parents, Mireille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard are way too good for this film, doing as much as they can with what they’re given. As young Kayla, Joey King gives good shocked (not so) innocent teen; her baby faced good looks are used to their advantage, and hark back to characters like Rhoda in The Bad Seed.
The way Kayla slowly unveils her murderous ways to her parents builds a palpable tension at the start of the film. After the event, she may or may not be being completely honest, and I found myself questioning if she was being sincere or was playing her parents against each other. It felt like the start of a chilling ride. Pity it stalled out soon after.
Now the bad news. The story points are thin, and the plot feels too drawn out to fully support its 90 minutes. With two highly intelligent parents, the choices they make seem understandable at first – if only in theory – but quickly spiral into 100% “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU” crazytown. By the time the film started its “climax”, I was hoping the whole family would get busted hard.
Halfway through the film I found myself longing to grab my phone for a bit of distraction. The introduction of a detective friend of the family felt like padding even when the case became an integral part of the plot. Then the melodrama came on on fast and thick in the final third, and I’d emotionally checked out.
At the last fifteen minutes, I couldn’t believe there was more left to this film (“Oh CRAP” was a thing I said out loud), but at the final moments there’s a “twist” that made me sad for the film this could have been. Take the promising beginning, add that cool ending, and there was real promise here. But by then, it was too little too late, and I’d ceased caring.
If the rest of the introductory class of Welcome to the Blumhouse films are this middling, I’m not sure this series will get off the ground. I’m not particularly looking forward to the other three in the series.
Score: 2 out of 5 pumpkins.