I was pretty excited to watch this newest movie released on VOD (Video on Demand) because it was written by David Koepp, a director/screenwriter from Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Koepp has made some really awesome movies like Jurassic Park, Panic Room and Mission Impossible. He has also worked with Kevin Bacon before on a cool thriller Stir of Echoes which was fairly decent film as well. So, all of the ingredients were in place for a movie that shouldn’t suck on VOD, right? Right!?
You Should Have Left is a film about a retired bank (played by Kevin Bacon), his actress wife (played by Amanda Seyfried), and their little daughter who take a vacation in a “spooky” house in Wales, when surprise, surprise some weird things begin to happen.
This description from IMDB (Internet Movie Database) website actually has been altered from the original entry which stated that this film was about a screenwriter who was going on vacation with his family to work on a screen play. The book that this film is based on does deal with a screenwriter. So why didn’t they stick to the book more closely? Well, I think it has to do with one of Koepp’s previous movies, Secret Window which stared Johnny Depp that was about a writer in a secluded location who is being haunted during the writing process. So, I think Koepp was worried that he would be trotting over too familiar of territory and changed the main character’s occupation. If this was the case, he should have used some other material, or actually decided to write something that most first-time screenwriters would not cringe at.
The plot is dull and boring, because the whole premise of them going to this really weird home in the Welsh countryside is because they want to go on vacation. There is a hint that something terrible happened to Kevin Bacon’s character’s first wife, but it is only alluded to a couple of times, it doesn’t feel like the main thrust of the story. Eventually we will find out this little plot point, but it is really an afterthought, if this plot point was made more front and centered this would have been a more compelling film. Also, this was marketed as a horror movie, but it felt more like a drama to me with some supernatural elements throw in for effect. Koepp should have done a lot better job of fleshing out the horror aspects of this movie.
I was also disappointed in the characters. The “haunted house” was one of the lightest filled structures I have ever seen as a haunted location. It looked more like an IKEA model home than anything that should be scary. All the human characters as well were a disappointment. They barely felt one dimensional, in that the only thing we got to know about them was that they had a career, banker or movie star. What brought Bacon’s character into a relationship with the much younger Seyfried’s character? What does Bacon do for work? Basic questions that go unanswered.
The only reason I didn’t give this movie an “F” was because the actors do their best with absolutely nothing and give their characters a semblance of a normal person.
Overall, I would give this movie a D (A Dull and Dumb Movie). This film is such a disappointment coming from the keyboard of David Koepp, who is known for some amazing writing like Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, and Panic Room to name a few of his many hits. The only reason, this film was made was because of these previous film credentials. Normally in Hollywood a script like this would be put into the circular file, no questions asked. The two reason I am so harsh on this “horror movie” is that it dull and it is boring. One jump scare does not make this movie a horror movie and just telling the audience what career a character has don’t give us a great insight into their motivations or what makes them tick. The only reason this will make any money at all is because it is being released on VOD (Video on Demand). The title should be changed to You Should Never Watch This.
You Should Have Left is rated R for some violence, disturbing images, sexual content and language. This disappointing film was written and directed by David Koepp. You Should Have Left stars Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried and Avery Tiiu Essex.