Tag Archives: Storm Reid

Don’t Let Go

Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo) is a detective who’s about to stumble upon the biggest case of his career and you’re not going to believe how he solves it.

A simple visit to his brother’s home reveals 3 corpses – those of his brutally murdered brother, his brother’s wife, and his brother’s daughter. The house is soaked with blood and reeks of violence, but what happened here, and how did things get this bad without Jack noticing? He’s racked with grief and guilt, utterly devastated to have failed the only family he had, and feeling acutely alone in the world when he gets a call from his niece, Ashley (Storm Reid). His dead niece Ashley, the one who was just murdered along with her parents. Ashley and uncle Jack have always been close, but this is ridiculous. Is it a ghost, a rip in time…or is Jack just losing his mind? You’ll have your theories, and the cops at Jack’s station will have theirs as well. What to do with a detective who won’t let go of his own brother’s case, who’s working something with a conflict of interest so big and so bold that no one knows how to tell him to stop? Crazy or not, Jack’s determined to work with the evidence he has, even if it’s coming from a dead girl – but is he trying to solve a crime, or stop it from happening in the first place?

Obviously you’re going to have to deal with a certain paranormal aspect to this film that doesn’t make much straight-up sense. Before you stream, ask yourself this: can I let go? Can you deal with something non-linear and non-logical? If not, there’s no shame in just walking away. There are other movies for you. But if you think you might be interested in a detective with a ghost sidekick and a magic smart phone that receives calls from the dead, then the good news is, Don’t Let Go‘s on Netflix, where you can give it a try, risk-free. If you can let go, this movie is not half bad. It’s not great, it’s a bit uneven and writer-director Jacob Aaron Estes doesn’t have the technical prowess to shoot it in a more interesting way, but the cast, including Brian Tyree Henry, Alfred Molina, and Mykelti Williamson, is talented, and they sell the mystery, the urgency, and the thrill. The big, philosophical questions remain unanswered – this is a murder mystery at its heart, not science fiction, but it does manage to combine different genres into an enjoyable and compelling watch.

The Invisible Man

Lots of movies have been rescheduled due to COVID-19’s impact on world box offices, but a few movies were released just as things got tricky and got short shrift releases. Movie studios are fighting back but they’re basically inventing their responses as we go so right now they’re experimenting with what people at home might tolerate. Disney released Frozen 2 early on its Disney+ platform, and Onward will soon follow, on April 3rd, which is a real coup for parents who are dealing with the challenges of having kids on their hands full-time.

Universal took 3 of their big titles – Emma, The Invisible Man, and The Hunt, each of which were performing as well as they could at theatres where attendance has been understandably low – and that was before they all closed down indefinitely. So each of these titles has been released for early rental, at a premium. They’re called Home Premieres and they rent for $20 for 48 hours. It’s certainly more than you’d normally pay to rent a movie but it’s quite reasonable compared to a night at the cinema – you can provide your own snacks, your own wine, you don’t need a babysitter, and as an extra bonus, you won’t put your health at risk from exposure to germs.

You’ve already seen our review for Emma, which we very much liked and very much thought was well worth the 20 bucks.

The Invisible Man, however, is a whole other thing, isn’t it? We all know I’m a chicken and there wasn’t a slightest chance of my seeing this in theatres. Sean and I stopped going to movies well before the theatres closed since I’m high risk for the virus, with both an underlying illness and immuno-suppressing medication, but let’s face it: the true reason is that I’m just too fragile for horror. And though I’ve made exceptions for exceptional films (A Quiet Place, The Witch, and Midsommar, for example), I felt comfortable not making an exception for this, though it was relatively well reviewed.

But now that it’s available for Home Premiere, it seemed like the perfect chance to step outside my comfort zone while in the privacy of my own bedroom.

Basically, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) goes to great lengths to leave her abusive boyfriend. She’s clearly terrified of him but he’s a respected scientist and inventor, and his money has gone a long way in insulating him from repercussions. He’s been controlling but with the help of her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) and friend James (Aldis Hodge), she’s able to slip away – barely. He soon after takes his own life, but Cecilia isn’t convinced. She becomes haunted by a presence – she believes it to be her supposedly dead ex, Adrian, but that theory doesn’t hold a whole lot of water with anyone else. I mean, how do you prove that your ex is so vindictive he faked his own death to taunt you via some invisibility cloak? Try it, I dare you. It doesn’t go well for Cecilia. She’s mistaken for a raving lunatic, but Adrian’s invisible actions are getting increasingly violent and looking crazy is the least of her worries.

Director Leigh Whannell creates and sustains a painfully tense atmosphere from start to finish, constantly ratcheting up the stakes and guaranteeing our breathing is shallow at best.

MV5BNGFiOThiMTgtZDQ5MS00MTRhLWIzMTYtNzNkODg3MDVlYzRjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjczOTE0MzM@._V1_

I had help getting through the movie: dogs, and caramel popcorn, and some eyebrow tutorials on Youtube. But I still screamed a few times and even upturned the popcorn bowl (which was mercifully lidded at the time). Like any good horror movie, the director knows that your own imagination will always be far worse than anything he can conjure, so he allows for lots of lingering, vaguely threatening shots containing worlds of possibility around every corner. And the score by  Benjamin Wallfisch informs your anxiety, feeds it, and capitalizes on it.

Mostly I got through the movie by telling myself it was basically a comic book movie and that this is exactly what they were warning us about in Civil War. At any time, some “hero”could turn villain on a dine just because his ego’s a little sore. Certainly Adrian incurs an awful lot of collateral damage in the name of revenge against the only person who’s ever left him. The suit he’s engineered is exactly the kind of tech that Iron Man might have, or Batman, and all that stands between them and villainy is a broken heart, which is alarming since the one hallmark of a so-called super hero besides their super powers is treating women like shit.

Anyway, The Invisible Man is a pretty good movie. It’s not just an exercise in jump scares, it has a wholly realized story and a character who has to reclaim her agency. Elisabeth Moss’s costar is invisible, so the whole thing rests on her very capable shoulders. She’s equally believable as both victim and conqueror. And though it wasn’t an easy watch for me, it’s survivable for even moderate wusses, which is saying something indeed.