Review by Sean Boelman
Written and directed by Andrew Mecham and Matthew Whedon, Behind You doesn’t do much to deviate from the supernatural horror formula. However, since Mecham and Whedon don’t rely on generic jump scares to make their film scary, it manages to be an entertaining and satisfying B-movie.
The movie follows two young sisters seeking refuge with their estranged aunt in a house that they soon learn to be haunted when they uncover one of the hidden mirrors in the house. The film’s biggest flaw, without a doubt, is that its story is entirely predictable and conventional. Every beat of the script follows the traditional pattern of the haunted house thriller.
Perhaps the easiest way in which the film could have recovered itself would have been to create a more detailed world within the movie. The best haunted house movies have clear rules and a memorable monster, and that simply isn’t the case here. The fiendish spirit that threatens the characters is hard to differentiate from any urban legend or old wives’ tale.
That said, Mecham and Whedon do a very good job of creating a tense and eerie atmosphere. Even if viewers can’t fully buy into the idea of the film’s world, there are enough scares here for the movie to be passable entertainment. Thankfully, the use of gore is sparing and cheap scares few in number, the focus instead placed on mounting suspense.
The film is also very impressive and on a technical level. Arguably the strongest aspect of the movie is the way in which it takes advantage of its mansion setting. The cinematography is tight and the production design even tighter, helping mecham and Whedon to execute their scares in the most efficient way possible.
One of the more perplexing things about the film is its character development. There are some things in the script that work very well, while other portions fall flat. The relationship between the protagonist and her sister is very compelling, albeit a touch underdeveloped. On the other hand, the ambiguity of the aunt doesn’t pay off.
Actresses Addy Miller and Elizabeth Birkner both do a very good job in their roles, bringing some great chemistry to the table that really sells the sisterhood aspect of the story. In the supporting cast, Jan Broberg goes a bit too big with her performance, and while it is almost fitting for the role, it’s still notably over-the-top. Philip Brodie gives a charming turn as one of the girls’ allies.
Behind You is not a particularly original horror movie, but the filmmakers have enough talent and passion to make it worth watching. Some disappointing narrative choices aside, it’s a much better flick than most genre pictures.
Behind You hits VOD on April 16.
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