Halfway Through Watching, You Realize: You Should Have Left

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You Should Have Left

The arthouse horror film YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT has more than a few good elements to work with when crafting a haunted house story. Unfortunately, it doesn't make as much use of them as it should.

A former banker, Theo (Kevin Bacon), and his actress wife, Susanna (Amanda Seyfried), rent a house in the Welsh countryside while Susanna films a movie there. If you're immediately thinking about the age disparity between Bacon (who has apparently grown up to become Randy Travis) and BIG LOVE actress, it's actually acknowledged in the plot, when one of Susanna's co-workers question if Theo is her father.

Theo become plagued by nightmares, adding more tension to his life. He writes daily in a journal while listening to a somewhat bizarre psychology self-help audio, the therapy he undertakes after a tragic ending to his previous marriage that garnered him a measure of public notoriety. He also exhibits a level of paranoia about his young wife's fidelity, which turn out to be not unfounded, all of which leads to him being alone in the house with his daughter, Ella (Avery Essex), who gets separated and lost in the house, which seems determined not to let them leave.

The house they move into isn't ancient. In fact, it's somewhat modern. But it has an labyrinthine interior layout that makes it appear bigger on the inside than the outside. In fact, later on when Theo measures the interior and exterior of one room, he loses six feet, which should be impossible -- but which doesn't weigh on him all that heavily afterward.

The house is decidedly haunted -- but by who is a revelation, why is left a mystery, how is unknown, and it all makes much better sense if you just go with that first instinct early in the film that the house is actually a TARDIS. Ultimately, this David Koepp presentation lacks a certain fulfillment quality and closure to make it something that gets rotation on horror film nights.

Grade: 
2.5 / 5.0