The Corona crisis has also left its mark on the low-budget horror company Blumhouse. In this case it hits the horror thriller YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT, which Universal Pictures is now bringing directly to home cinemas and foregoing exploitation in cinemas. We will reveal in our review whether this is understandable or a great loss.
OT: You Should Have Left (USA 2020)
As a couple, Theo (Kevin Bacon) and Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) like to attract attention. The reason: Not only is he a lot older than his new girlfriend, he is also suspected of having killed his wife. At least that’s what they say. However, this doesn’t stop the successful actress Susanna and her little daughter Ella (Avery Essex) from starting a new family together and – to make their happiness perfect – moving into a secluded luxury house to enjoy their life. But in the nearby town, residents keep suggesting that things are not going well in the building and that the couple should get out of there as quickly as possible. Theo and Susanna initially pay no attention to the rumors, but then increasingly strange events occur in the house that drive Theo to the brink of madness…
It all started with “Trolls 2: Trolls World Tour”. This was followed by films such as “The Hunt”, “The King of Staten Island” and “The High Note”; Productions that were not given the opportunity to make their triumphant appearance in cinemas due to the Corona crisis, but were instead sold off on streaming platforms. An unfortunate, although understandable development given the circumstances, which we can now hope will be a thing of the past once cinemas reopen worldwide. Blumhouse Productions also had two potentially promising arrows in its quiver during the pandemic. On the one hand, the bitterly evil splatter satire “The Hunt”, which at least managed to get a few days in the cinema in the USA before the cinemas were forced to close there, but had to forego its release completely in this country. And the horror thriller “You Should Have Left,” based on a story by Daniel Kehlmann, which can now be rented on US VOD platforms for just under $20. Now, of course, the question arises to what extent there must have been any trust in the quality in advance if one does not wait until the cinemas have reopened and instead resorts to the less complex process of home cinema release. In the case of “You should have gone”, however, this decision is obvious, because the extremely cheaply produced films from the Blumhouse company are often not even shown in cinemas, even without Corona, and still generate a lot of profit due to the low production costs. It is all the more unfortunate that one of the best (and best-looking) films in recent Blumhouse history will not see the light of day in cinemas.
Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) and Theo (Kevin Bacon) love each other despite their big age difference.
None other than David Koepp is responsible for the script and direction of “You Should Have Left”. Why this is an obvious choice in this case becomes clear when you look at what else Koepp has done – in addition to films like “The Secret Window”, “Premium Rush” (as a director) and “Jurassic Park” (as a writer). has yet done. Namely the mystery thriller “Echoes – Voices from the Intermediate World”, which, according to the trailer, must have clearly been the inspiration for his latest film. But even if the basic constellation of a couple who suddenly finds themselves exposed to scary events in a house (basically the premise of any haunted house movie) is similar, “You Should Have Left” ultimately stands on its own . And does many things better than the supposed role model. This starts with the drawing of the protagonist couple. With Amanda Seyfried (“Enzo and the wondrous world of men”) and Kevin Bacon (“Boston”) The makers couldn’t just get two established Hollywood stars; This is anything but commonplace, especially in genre cinema. The two embody a couple whose large age difference the script does not take for granted, but rather focuses on for a long time as a narratively relevant factor. “You should have gone” takes over half an hour to outline the relationship between the two, which is also in crisis because of this. Theo distrusts his young, beautiful girlfriend because she is increasingly glued to her smartphone and writing WhatsApp messages to colleagues. Susanna, on the other hand, increasingly fails to prove her love for her boyfriend. And above all, the question revolves around whether this unusual patchwork family can pull itself together, even if they are constantly viewed critically by those around them.
“Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Bacon embody a couple whose large age difference the script does not take for granted, but rather focuses on for a long time as a narratively relevant factor.”
Also influencing the young happiness: the rumor that Theo had killed his then-wife before his relationship with Susanna. An assumption that seems outrageous, but at the same time is presented as a lie so convincingly that it doesn’t matter for a long time. Instead, the horror unfolds slowly in the form of a typical haunted house horror potpourri; eerie shadows on the walls, creepy reflections, lights that turn on by themselves and shadowy figures that appear just as suddenly as they disappear again. Nothing new in the world of jumpscare horror; with the small difference that David Koepp rarely stages these well-known set pieces as real jump scares. This takes away their sensational character and, above all, causes discomfort before “You Should Have Left” takes a completely different direction in the second half than one would expect based on the tropes presented previously. Now you have to admit that the following set of topics won’t win any innovation prizes either. Of course, we don’t want to reveal exactly which films it reminds us of for spoiler reasons. But at the same time, David Koepp directs his film so stylishly and, with the help of some smart, anything but elaborate tricks, ensures that “You Should Have Left” exudes a nostalgic, spooky atmosphere, even though the couple’s well-designed luxury property is the opposite of the classic, dilapidated horror house.
There’s a picture hanging in the house… of the house!?
The villa, equipped with a lavish window front, countless stairs and doors and a huge garden, is ultimately the secret star of the film. Because as convincingly and internally torn as Seyfried and Bacon embody a couple on the edge of their relationship, the house easily steals the show in many scenes. And not because it looks damn good, but because cameraman Angus Hudson (“The Accident”) glides so stylishly through the seemingly endless corridors and countless rooms of the house that even despite the tour of the villa that takes place at the beginning of the film, you quickly risk losing your bearings. And this is not an oversight, but rather contributes specifically to the understandable state of confusion of the male main character.
“Nothing new in the world of jumpscare horror; with the small difference that David Koepp rarely stages these well-known set pieces as real jump scares. This takes away their sensational character and, above all, causes discomfort before “You Should Have Left” takes a completely different direction in the second half.
“You Should Have Left” not only skilfully plays with the architecture of the house as it becomes the central component of Theo’s gradually increasing delusions, but also uses simple means for staging subtleties. For example, the creators only have to swing a lamp hanging under the ceiling back and forth so that the shadow cast by the banister appears to literally waver. “You should have gone” is the best proof that something extremely tasty can be prepared using well-known ingredients. In this case, a horror thriller that seems fresh and ambitious despite various borrowings from well-known genre films. So basically what has distinguished many of David Koepp’s other films.
Conclusion: At first glance, “You Should Have Left” seems like just any old haunted house horror film. But David Koepp skillfully circumvents the familiarity of familiar mechanisms and stages a damn good-looking, surprising and well-acted horror film whose characters quickly grow on you.
“You Should Have Left” is available on DVD and Blu-ray from October 29th.