What I'm Watching: I Still See You
I live again!
I have been so bad about doing random reviews, and I have seen some AMAZING movies this year, both good amazing and terrible amazing. I have so many thoughts I’d like to share, and I want to get back to doing these more regularly.
Which brings me to today, and I just watched I Still See You, the latest movie to hit home video with Bella Thorne.
The story is about a world where a scientific experiment gone wrong breaks the laws of nature, and now there are ghosts visible and wandering throughout the world. They’re not typical ghosts though, and they live on a loop, some minutes long, some hours, some an entire day. It never changes, it can’t interact, and they eventually fade away, to return later.
Or so we think, as the movie starts. It lays out its rules very clearly, and then slowly strips them away as the plot unfolds. There are two types of stories based around rules; one is where they set up the rules and the plot has to figure out how to work and bend around them, in some clever way. The other is where the rules are wrong, or lies, and everything gets tipped on its head as we discover the truth. This story is the second, obviously.
But there’s even more to the story, as there is a murder mystery at the heart of things, and as the story of what happened to the world unfolds, this mystery unfolds alongside it, along parallel tracks.
Bella Thorne plays Veronica, a young girl who lost her father in the Event, and now sees his remnant every morning at breakfast. It’s a heartbreaking metaphor for loss and letting go, that doesn’t slam you over the head throughout the movie, even though it is a core message by the end of the film. Veronica is your typical dark and moody teen, just struggling to get by after the loss of her father, and navigate through the world, until one day she sees a new Remnant in the bathroom that actually leaves her a message, and she feels threatened by. This sets her off on a quest to figure things out, and is the core of the film.
Bella is perfect casting for Veronica, she nails the “I don’t care” attitude of a teen while still having vulnerability and depth just waiting to be cracked open. She sells the heartbreak of the remnants, and the determination to figure everything out.
Harmon is someone I’ve been a fan of since Continuum, and it’s always a treat seeing him pop up, and this movie is no different. It’s again spot on casting, as he has that troubled sort of look to him, but brings the depth necessary to someone going through what Kirk is after losing his own father, and never seeing his remnant.
And I can’t speak highly enough of all the actors playing featured Remnants in this film. They have to sell all their actions without a word, with a look, a little something in their eyes, a smile, and that is a difficult thing to pull off. And especially Ronnie’s dad does an amazing job of making each time he appears different and subtle when it needs to be.
I absolutely loved this movie. I love the new take on ghosts, and making them their own thing, with their own set of rules, and cause, mixing science with just a hint of supernatural. The mystery is actually very well done, although all the pieces are there if you look for them, and might get ahead of the plot if you’re clever enough. Which I don’t mind in the slightest. I’d rather a mystery plays fair and doesn’t pull things out of thin air.
Also, I absolutely love horror movies set in winter. The cold, the isolation, it always brings an added layer to the horror, and brings some extra atmosphere that helps sell things, that it otherwise wouldn’t have if it was set in summer.
If there’s any flaws to the movie, it’s maybe that it’s a bit too complex, and a few too many coincidences. They don’t really get in the way of the story, but I sometimes felt I needed another moment to catch my breath and take in all the information the movie was giving us, since it is a lot of world building and rule making and how this whole plot hinges on those rules.
It’s still a great movie, with some solid jumps, but the story really doesn’t revolve around them. The journey, the story being told, is the real reason to check this movie out, and I definitely recommend it.