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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

‘You’ll Never Find Me:’ a claustrophobic disappointment

New horror’s plot fails to meet expectations
Fair+use+from+Tribeca+Film
Fair use from Tribeca Film

Shudder’s new horror/thriller, “You’ll Never Find Me” was released straight to the streaming service on March 22. It was produced by Stakeout Filmed and directed by Australian film-makers Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell in their directorial debut. Despite the stunning details, the movie ultimately failed to meet my expectations.

The movie follows an isolated middle-aged man, named Patrick (Brendan Rock), who lives at the back of a rundown trailer park. One night, he is visited by a young woman, only referred to as the Visitor (Jordan Cowan) in the credits, seeking shelter from a violent storm. As the night and storm roar on, paranoia and disorder spread around the trailer like wildfire.

The film has a small cast of six, only containing two speaking characters, one of which is Patrick. Patrick is a wonderfully written character. He is very mysterious, not only to the Visitor, but the audience as well. We learn about him as the Visitor does. He starts as a very easy character to mistrust. There is an obvious power dynamic between him, a large man, living secluded, lacking social skills and his frail, vulnerable-looking visitor. But as the movie goes on, he opens up emotionally to the Visitor in monologues with the tragic stories of his life. These monologues are poetic in language and contain some philosophy that make them sound very beautiful. These are vulnerable moments for him, which make Patrick more sympathetic to the audience. But in some of these conversations, Patrick twists his philosophy down the road of victim-blaming and the safety of women, which keeps the audience on their toes, going back and forth between trusting Patrick and not. Patrick also does several alleged acts of kindness towards the Visitor, like giving her drinks and food that we never see him make, alluding to the possibility of them being drugged. These questionable monologues and actions help keep the tension between the characters high and never lets the Visitor or the audience fully relax.

The other speaking character is the Visitor. Initially, all of the audience’s sympathy goes towards her because of how vulnerable she appears in her situation and of the fear she shows towards Patrick. Throughout the two’s interactions, the Visitor describes her story and details of her life, but as she refers back to them, details change. She’s inconsistent about important points and specifics don’t line up with the facts of the situation, such as her entering the trailer park when the gates lock at night. Her lies make the audience and Patrick surmise the possibility of ulterior motives, thus constantly causing the audience’s suspicions to jump between the two characters due to their shady actions.

The acting of both the main characters is glorious. Both Rock and Cowan give very effective performances. Rock easily goes from intimidating and ominous to sympathetic and sensitive. Cowan beautifully shows every side to the Visitor, from defenseless and fearful to dubious. They work wonderfully with each other, adding to each other’s performances. Both actors do the best with the material they are given and no flaw of this movie is their fault.

“You’ll Never Find Me” is a one-location film, only being shot in the dinky, musty trailer. Patrick’s trailer is small and confined, giving it a claustrophobic feel. The restricted setting puts an emphasis on the conflict between the characters because they can’t get away from each other. There is nothing but the fear, anger and paranoia filling this small space, and they can’t hide from it or each other. They’re stuck together, which only allows for their conflict to build. The confined space makes both the audience and the characters feel trapped in this craze of suspicion.

The atmosphere is a true highlight of the film. The power in the trailer goes out, which leaves the space very dark and gloomy. The film-makers then add in many lights from the exterior of the trailer that creates beautiful highlights on the interior. The lighting not only accentuates the characters and their actions, but adds a lot of vibrancy to the dark trailer and makes the set very visually interesting. The lights also get more vibrant and intense as the plot and tension builds, matching the intensity of the climax.

There is no soundtrack to the film. Instead of music, the background is filled with the sounds of the storm outside, which grow louder as the film progresses. There’s howling wind, giant branches bashing against the side of the trailer and the shaking of the foundation from the sheer speed of the storm — at times it sounds like they’re being terrorized by a wild animal outside. The lack of a soundtrack is an unusual choice, but I think it adds to the tension of the film. The noises of the storm build in anger as the tension and paranoia between the characters grow, which helps convey how intense the situation is getting and gives the audience a sense of impending doom. The worsening noises of the storm also show how violent it is outside, which is one of the reasons both of the characters feel the need to stay, because they’d rather risk each other than danger of the storm. That is one detail I really liked because often in horror movies it’s incredibly frustrating why the characters don’t just leave the dangerous situation, and the storm explains that away in this movie.

The plot starts out very strong, but ends up being the downfall of “You’ll Never Find Me.” The film has incredible building suspense and tension between the characters. The audience never knows who they can trust or the true intention of Patrick or the Visitor. The film begins as a slow burn, paranoia-filled ride that is extremely character driven. It carries on like this for the majority of the movie and it’s emotionally effective. I was very invested. The beginning of the climax is shocking, but makes sense for the story. It is chilling and creepy and both Rock and Crowan give wonderful performances. However, towards the end, the story becomes almost nonsensical. You can’t tell what’s real and what’s fake. It’s unclear if it delves into the supernatural or hallucinations. What was once masterful lighting turns into strobing chaos on top of a dark background, which makes everything practically impossible to see. The film-makers tried to create a trippy twist, but it just turned out as a mindless mess. Rock still gives a very strong performance, doing the best with what he is given, but not even his brilliant acting could save the wreckage of the ending.

Overall, “You’ll Never Find Me” was not great. It had so much potential that was proven in the first two thirds of the film through the characters, setting, atmosphere and sound, but its mess of an ending ultimately made it quite disappointing. I probably wouldn’t watch it again because of the lack of pay off in the ending. I think it’s worth a watch because of the great beginning, but be prepared for the unsatisfying messy ending.

“You’ll Never Find Me:” ★★★☆☆

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About the Contributor
Rackam Walberg, Echo Staffer
 Hi, my name is Rackam Walberg. I am a sophomore and this is my first year in Echo. Other than writing and photography, I love to draw and read. I also enjoy hiking, listening to music, and watching horror movies. I’m really excited to be in Echo this year!

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