‘See for Me’ is Tense, Unpredictable, and Features Great Characters
Randall Okita will keep you guessing with this taut home invasion thriller.
I really enjoy a good home invasion film. One’s home is a sacred place. And the idea of being a prisoner in your domicile (or in this case someone else’s) is a terrifying thought. Turning a place of sanctuary into an arena where one must fight for their very survival is pure nightmare fuel when done effectively. With that said, I am pleased to report that See for Me is a solid effort in the home invasion genre that is rarely predictable. Once the flick gets going, it serves up nonstop suspense and palpable tension throughout.
Former competitive skier Sophie (Skyler Davenport) books a housesitting gig at a rural estate. During the course of her stay, the home is burgled by a trio of thieves. Adding to the chaos, Sophie is blind. But with the help of an army vet that acts as her eyes, Sophie attempts to make her way to safety.
Getting right into what works, Sophie is a well-written central character. She is richly developed but without clunky or extraneous backstory. We learn about her history as a competitive skier and the way her past has influenced her current situation through a series of conversations and asides that never detract from a taut and suspenseful premise.
Screenwriters Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue have crafted a clever and effective screenplay that subverted my expectations at almost every turn. It’s great to see a fresh script (from first-time feature screenwriters) that relies very little on established tropes. It dares to go to unexpected places in service of telling a thrilling story.
Director Randall Okita does a fine job of bringing the action to life with effective use of lighting, editing, and tension building. Okita leans into the tension inherent to the story. He deftly conveys a sense of foreboding that kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the film’s runtime.
Davenport (who uses they/them pronouns) sells their performance as Sophie. They give viewers a sense of just how helpless one would feel in that situation. In spite of enduring a dire ordeal, Sophie is a smart and capable protagonist who is fiercely independent. But being blind, the character must let a total stranger assist through this unsavory nightmare. We see Sophie persevere through a series of situations that would be too much for most seeing people to endure. Yet, Sophie powers through with fewer resources to rely on than someone able to connect with their surroundings by way of sight.
Jessica Parker Kennedy plays expertly off of Davenport as Kelly, Sophie’s point of contact at a company called See for Me that assists the visually impaired by way of video chat. Kelly guides Sophie through a series of treacherous situations with the kind of care and compassion usually reserved for family or a close friend. Kennedy brings Kelly to life in a manner that is both genuine and relatable.
Although he isn’t onscreen much (the actor primarily appears as a voice on the other end of the line) Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy) is a delight as the man pulling the strings. Coates comes across as menacing and imposing, always wearing a sinister smile. Accordingly, one is likely to get the impression he probably isn’t to be trusted. But his cat-that-ate-the-canary grin makes him come across as equal parts mysterious and engaging.
One (minor) complaint is that the narrative is a bit far-fetched in some of what it asks the audience to accept. But if you can get past a couple of staggering coincidences and suspend your disbelief for ninety minutes, you’re sure to have fun with this one.
My final criticism is that the ending was a little more upbeat than the tone of the preceding 85 minutes. While I was a little let down by that, I will say that I ultimately enjoyed seeing where Sophie landed after the terrifying ordeal with which she was saddled.
See for Me will be available in select theaters and via VOD starting January 7th.
See for Me is a tense affair that keeps the audience guessing until the bitter end.