Review by Sean Boelman
Some of the scariest movies are set in a confined space because this allows the viewer to feel trapped right alongside the characters, and that is the main appeal of Sean King O’Grady’s masterclass in tension, We Need to Do Something. The film creeps under the viewer’s skin before delivering absolute insanity, making it one of the most effective genre pictures of the year.
The movie follows a family who is trapped together in a bathroom after a devastating storm, only to find out that there may be something more sinister happening. O’Grady does an excellent job of starting small and getting progressively bigger and bigger as the film goes on, though he still maintains the heavily independent vibe that is what makes it so effective.
For the first thirty minutes or so, the movie is a slow burn thriller built around the tension between the family members. But after that, things begin to go down in a way that makes this turn into something much more complex and absolutely terrifying. Viewers will have their mouths agape in shock for almost the entirety of the last hour.
Admittedly, the film is pretty overt with its themes that come into play in the final act, but this isn’t a genre that is known for its subtlety. It’s hard to describe exactly how without spoiling some of the surprises that the movie has in store, but the emotional crux of the film that comes into play in the back half is surprisingly resonant.
Much of the movie revolves around the family dynamic, and it works quite well. There are definitely some cliches in play, but the script by Max Booth III does a good job of deconstructing them in a way that isn’t entirely predictable. The ways in which the film plays with their motivations is very compelling.
The small cast is very good, especially given the fact that the movie is largely on their backs. The highlight of the cast is Pat Healy whose performance is exaggerated, but terrifyingly creepy. It’s nice to see the character actor getting a starring role. The other main players — Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, and John James Cronin — are also all pretty good as well.
That said, the single most impressive part of this film is O’Grady’s skill in making tension. The movie creates an intense feeling of claustrophobia in the viewer, and it’s part of what makes it so disturbing. The sound design is also phenomenal, expanding the world beyond the confines of the bathroom.
We Need to Do Something is an absolutely horrifying film, hooking the audience in with a slow burn before catching them entirely off guard. Sean King O’Grady is absolutely someone to keep an eye on in genre cinema.
We Need to Do Something hits theaters and VOD on September 3.