A home invasion thriller that fails to engage the senses
See For Me is currently available for digital download and is streaming on Netflix in the UK. It tells the story of Sophie, a former champion skier who agrees to cat-sit for a client at a secluded mansion that seems to be miles away from any other property.
Unfortunately, the home is invaded by three thieves who seem to know the location of a hidden safe so Sophie’s life is put at risk as she tries to avoid being seen.
Home invasion thrillers are nothing new but this one has a twist: Sophie is visually impaired. Of course, this is hardly new either as such movies as Hush and Wait Until Dark have featured characters whose chances of survival have been put at risk because of their disabilities. But when done well, as was the case with the aforementioned movies, there is still the opportunity for a suspenseful thriller, despite any feelings of over-familiarity.
Sadly, this isn’t the case with See For Me. It’s not exactly awful but it is mostly unoriginal. It’s not difficult to guess what happens next as the plot trundles along to its conclusion and as there are no clever camera shots or elaborate plot twists, it’s easy to become bored by the whole thing.
The movie does have one good gimmick, however. Sophie uses an app called ”See For Me’ whenever she needs assistance from a sighted person, and this comes in particularly useful when she needs to know the location of the thieves.
On the other end of the app is Kelly, a former combat vet, who for some reason works as a ‘seeing eye person’ in between her work for the army. She also plays Call of Duty-style video games online so is well used to giving instructions to somebody from one end of a headset.
Personally, I thought the inclusion of the app was a good idea as it adds something new to a tired formula. But it would have been more effectively used if the person on the other end of the video stream wasn’t an experienced marksman. I understand why the scriptwriters gave her this backstory but it takes away any possibility of suspense.
More fun could have been had if the person Sophie communicated with was a lazy 9 to 5 slacker who was as clueless about dealing with home intruders as she was. But as Kelly has the skills to turn the tables on the invaders, despite being on the other end of the phone, we never once feel scared for the blind girl whose life is supposedly in danger.
There are other problems with the story. For starters, why is a visually impaired person looking after a cat in a large house? Surely this is a health and safety nightmare waiting to happen as, despite a brief guided tour around the mansion, Sophie has little way of knowing what obstacles are in front of her. And how did the thieves know about the money in the safe? Unless I had a nap midway through (which is a big possibility), this was something that I failed to grasp. The movie strains believability and there are times when it’s a chore to sit through.
In terms of character, Sophie is hard to root for, despite her impairment, as she doesn’t come across like a particularly nice person. Skyler Davenport, the actress who plays Sophie, puts in a good performance, however, and as she is legally blind herself, this gives the movie a little more credibility than it would have been given otherwise.
But as her character is miserable and mean for half of the running time – she even tries to steal from her employer – there is little incentive to take her side when she goes up against the people who have broken into the house. Still, at least she comes across as a real person and not an angelic figure that we are manipulated to like.
Jessica Parker Kennedy is very good as Kelly, the ‘See For Me’ support worker that Sophie relies on for help when trying to take on the bad guys alone. She isn’t necessarily given a lot to work with as she never leaves the confines of one room but she does well with the little she has been handed. The actors playing the thieves, however, while certainly very competent, don’t have much to do other than appear creepy, so they aren’t so well-served by the limitations of the screenplay.
From a visual standpoint, the movie rarely stands out so it comes across like a TV movie at times. The mansion certainly looks nice but it’s never used effectively as a plot device to add any suspense or hidden danger. Alfred Hitchcock and other directors of his calibre would have used more sweeping shots of the staircases and other areas of the home to showcase the scale of the property, and they would have made better use of shadows to introduce more tension. Unfortunately, there is little of that in this movie.
A good home invasion flick needs interesting characters and a building sense of menace. Unfortunately, this movie falls down on both those fronts so there isn’t a lot to see here. While you probably won’t mind the movie if all you’re looking for is a 90 minute-time-filler, there will probably never be a moment when you’re fully engaged with what is happening on screen.
Read More: See For Me Ending Explained
Verdict - 4/10