Universal’s You Should Have Left is the latest movie to bypass movie theaters and debut via streaming, (following the likes of Trolls: World Tour, The King of Staten Island, Artemis Fowl, The High Note, the Valley Girl remake, The Lovebirds, to name a few). You Should Have Left is definitely not the type of movie that that loses anything on the small screen. While the low budget Blumhouse film is billed as a horror/thriller and is Rated-R, it is about as scary as Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and achieved its rating solely due to the handful of F-bombs littered throughout.
Sixty-two year old Kevin Bacon, (yes, he is 62), plays Theo, a retired investment banker whose second wife, Susanna (Amanda Seyfried), a famous actress, is half his age. Theo’s first wife died in a bathtub and many suspect Theo.
Susanna may be cheating on Theo, and with both someone much closer to her in age and who is working with her on her latest film. Are Theo’s suspicions unfounded? If not, will Theo become a widower for the second time?
To try to make a go of their crumbling relationship, Susanna and Theo, along with their daughter, Emma, (played by newcomer six year old Avery Tiiu Essex), decide to travel to the Wales countryside for a family vacation; to an impressive house that Susanna has found online. Immediately after arriving at the property Theo starts seeing things, and finding strange things, like secret rooms, polaroid photos scattered along the floor and on the wall, a bookshelf that when pushed open leads to a creepy, secret basement (reminiscent of the basement in Parasite). He has visions. Or are his eyes not playing tricks on him? Time escapes Theo at this house. What seems like a few minutes to him are actually hours. What is going on? The village storekeeper tries to warn Theo that the property the house is on is cursed.
Based on the German novel of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann, the film was adapted by and directed by David Koepp. Koepp is best known for writing Panic Room and adapting a litany of successful films, including Jurassic Park and The Lost World, the first Spider-Man featuring Toby Maguire, the first Mission: Impossible film, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and the Dan Brown novels Angels & Demons and Inferno.
While the screenplay adaptation endeavors of Koepp are hit or miss, putting Koepp both the screenplay adapter and director’s chair is like putting four-foot, eleven inch, 97-year-old grandma in the driver’s seat of a 1979 Cadillac Eldorado, in the middle of the 101 Freeway at rush hour. Remember the 2015 movie Mortdecai, that bomb starring Johnny Depp? Koepp directed that.
All is not lost. The production values of the film are astounding. Even though the majority of the film takes place in and around the house, the cinematography, art direction and production design are comparable to films that have budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The film runs just over 90 minutes. And while the story leaves a lot to be desired, Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried are at the top of their game. Given what they had to work with, that is a testament to their talent.