Twist and turns are one thing but I See You offers so many that you may lose count while watching. This isn’t a case where the twists are wildly illogical, but plenty of them leave things open for discussion once the credits roll. Even the marketing for the film is a twist because I See You is by no means a horror film, but rather a high tensed thriller revolving around a divided family. So many things in the trailer are misleading and it just makes the film that much more shocking as you watch everything unfold.
Directed by Adam Randall, I See You stars Jon Tenney, Libe Barer, Owen Teague, Judah Lewis, and Helen Hunt. After a series of strange disappearances in a small town, a detective on the case and his family find themselves at the center of it all. That brief summary of my own is all I want to disclose because saying more might give some big elements away. The film was written by Devon Graye and he gets a little carried away with the narrative contortions but I See You is still very impressive.
The performances in this film are great from everyone involved, Tenney and Teague are the two standouts. In order to avoid giving away too much, we will not go into detail on what exactly made them shine from the rest, but these two deliver in several ways. Hunt does her best in her role, but her character becomes irrelevant in the grand scheme of things once the narrative is flipped. The acting alone will keep viewers glued to the screen, and throughout all the many twists and turns the characters keep you interested.
As mentioned above, the writing relies heavily on twist after twist once the intensity picks up towards the end of the film. I See You centers on the Harper’s, a family slowly being torn apart by the recent infidelity of Jackie Harper (Hunt). Greg (Tenney), her husband, is a detective working on the case of missing people and the case makes its way into his home own home. Take from that what you will but this is a film that is more effective the less you know going in. Character development isn’t really here for everyone, but I’d say the characters that matter the most are explored enough throughout. The script is a mix of cliches, twists, and more twists that you can’t see coming. There’s a point in the film where it shifts and rewinds the entire story to fill in a new perspective that gets introduced. That narrative switch can drag a bit, but it makes the final act much more fulfilling.
Randall’s directs the film very well, the interior panning of the house creates a chilling sense that the Harper’s aren’t alone right from the beginning. This is only his second outing after directing iBoy for Netflix. Randall’s camerawork here makes the demise of a privileged family with secrets very satisfying. The cinematography by Philipp Blaubach is an amazing compliment to Randall’s direction and it is very rich. Randall creates a sense of foul play early on and meticulously builds the tension up to an ending that you definitely won’t see coming. Adding to that, I See You has a memorable score that amplifies the film with each new revelation. It complements the film very well and honestly, makes certain scenes more dramatic than they should have been.
While this is a solid thriller overall, I See You loses a little steam when you realize that amongst all these twists are several plot holes that just can’t be ignored. Many will also argue that the film feels like it cheats a bit with the way it plays out. In other words, I See You has a lot working for it because of the way it is edited. A lot of the film is told out of order, so that explains why it is impossible to guess what will happen. Despite that and some near awful dialogue, the performances, story progression, score, direction, and tense atmosphere make I See You worth checking out.