You can say that again. Normally I would tease what I really think about a movie just to get clicks and for you to read my entire review, but this time…eh, fuck it. I should have left YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT about 30 minutes into this 1 hour and 33 minute film. That runtime felt more like a two and a half hour one filled with “what’s?”, “really’s?”, slogs, bores and snores. But my rule is, in order to fully review a film, you have to fully watch it, so I battened down the hatches and watched the final hour. And while the movie is well shot, framed and moderately well acted, if you watch closely you’ll realize that it’s just a “smoke and mirrors” film: cheap editing and post production tricks to make you think it’s more special than it really is. But when the end credits roll, if you ever took a film class in college, you’ll be thinking the exact same thing as me: that this would’ve been a perfect little 15-20 minute short film because of how inconsequential the small message is at the end of the film. If you think the movie makes absolutely no sense, it doesn’t, until it does, and then when it reveals itself you’ll get a relatively confused look on your face and say, “wait, all that for THAT?!?” Yep, there isn’t anything deeper under the surface. It’s a very boring, very “meh” haunted house movie that unfortunately doesn’t really do anything different from some others that have been released recently, such as the overrated Relic that was released just a few weeks ago.
When this movie came out a month, month and a half ago via PVOD for $19.99 for a 48 hr rental, I knew to just be patient, and based on the poor reviews this was receiving, knew that it would be 5 bucks in no time. Well only a month and a half is definitely no time at all in the film buisness. And frankly, if I had spent $19.99 for one viewing of this movie back in June I would’ve slapped myself silly. Per IMDB, their log line for You Should Have Left is as follows: “A former banker (Kevin Bacon), his actress wife (Amanda Seyfried), and their spirited daughter book a vacation at an isolated modern home in the Welsh countryside where nothing is quite as it seems.” Ugh, when a movie’s log line uses “nothing is quite as it seems,” it seems to be at a loss for words on how else to describe a very plain, cut and dry film. They should just come out and say, “it’s basically another boring psychological haunted house film with cheap jump scares that don’t work at all.” Has David Koepp not learned anything from his poorly reviewed other films, such as his last “horror” film Secret Window or his last blockbuster he co-wrote…Tom Cruise’s The Mummy…or even before that…Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull? I’ll give you a minute to let Mr. Koepp’s post year 2000 screenwriting ability seep in. What happened to this guy? In the 90’s he wrote fantastic adaptations of Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible…oh wait though, he also did The Lost World and Snake Eyes…but wait…give him Stir of Echoes (his last collaboration with Kevin Bacon) and I’ll give him writing credit on one post 2000 film, Panic Room. But instead of dragging through his entire filmography for another two paragraphs before I get to my point, like he did with this film, let me just say it: The man is the epitome of a roller coaster like film career. Screenwriting wise.
While his writing career is full of highs and lows, his directing career is mostly lows. And all I need to point out is one film to prove my point: Mortdecai starring Johnny Depp. He has only directed one decent movie, Stir of Echoes. And even then there are some out there that feel that that movie is overrated. While You Should Have Left is well shot, the screenplay is so boringly bad that it takes away from that fact in the end. I would trust him more if he directed a horror movie where he didn’t have a hand in the screenplay whatsoever. He could focus on his directing craft instead of trying to do that WHILE looking and changing the blueprints every two seconds. Blueprints that were wonky to begin with. Again, the whole movie will leave you very confused the entire run time as to what its endgame is until about 5 minutes left, and even after it is revealed, you’ll be as disappointed in the conclusion as well as the journey. It is not one of the year’s worst films, because you can tell it was made with some effort. There is precisely one shot in the movie I like, in the house’s stairwell with a swinging light. I would rather watch Kevin Bacon run up and down those stairs all day than watch this film again. The acting is decent, but then again Bacon and Seyfried are pros, so that wasn’t shocking. What’s shocking was just how “meh” this film was. It was unnecessary and pointless. The point has been done before and in much better movies. But Blumhouse, who produced this film, makes a shit ton of movies on a very small ass budget. So to get Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried in a movie that takes place mostly just inside a house…why not right? I’ll tell you why not. Because they left logic, reasoning, and most of all…they left the scares nowhere to be seen.