Premise: When blind former skier Sophie cat-sits in a secluded mansion, three thieves invade for the hidden safe. Sophie’s only defense is army veteran Kelly. Kelly helps Sophie defend herself against the invaders and survive.
 

See for Me is a home invasion thriller with a unique spin. The lead character is blind and relies on a service app called See for Me, where an operator guides the user through their phone’s camera. It’s a fine enough hook for the film to start with but See for Me quickly shoves the concept aside for a more formulaic thriller. Sadly, what could have been an interesting entry in a tired subgenre turns into a dull limp to its expected finish line.

Leading the film as blind former skier Sophie is Skyler Davenport. They do a fine job carrying the emotional weight of the story, despite the script not giving them much with which to work. Sophie has an outburst with her mother early in the film and then heads off to a cat sitting gig she booked. That’s pretty much the extent of emotional resonance we’re given as it pertains to her backstory early on. There’s an interesting turn with the character when she’s confronted by the invaders, but the script chooses to play it safe after teasing us with it.

The “See for Me” app in the film is a solid plot device in the first act. Having a vision impaired protagonist reliant on a stranger to get her to safety is a compelling vehicle for a thriller. However, it quickly devolves into a video game first person shooter style that lacks any substance. Once Sophie gets possession of a gun, the operator Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy) guides her toward shooting the intruders. It plays out exactly like Kelly is playing a video game and while that might be fun for the character, it doesn’t do much for the viewer. It’s not until Sophie is in a standoff with one of the intruders without Kelly’s assistance that the tension actually works.

As a supporting character, Kelly is okay. She’s given a military backstory that, similar to Sophie’s backstory, isn’t given enough attention to really flesh out the character. Still, Kennedy does an admirable job performing the role since the film’s conceit necessitates that she be at a desk in a room alone through the entire runtime. Had Kelly and Sophie’s character arcs been more three dimensional and the dialogue a bit sharper between them, this film could have elevated itself above the level of mediocrity it’s saddled with.

As Rico, the leader of the intruders, Kim Coates swings for the fences. While most of his scenes are over a phone call, his voice gives off a sincerity that’s caked in distrustfulness. As he gives orders to his minions, he commands a certain respect. But it’s in the scenes where he’s speaking to Sophie that Coates shines. His dismissal of Sophie, saying that she’s not a threat to them since she can’t identify them, carries a certain danger to it. He delivers the lines so casually that the tone strikes you in a certain uncomfortable way. It’s like you (and Sophie) know there’s distinct danger lurking below. This is proven true in the third act when he’s onscreen and Coates plays the danger and derangement in a pretty big way that somehow works. Unfortunately, the blink and you’ll miss it explanation of his motive falls flat and puts a slight damper on an otherwise enjoyable character.

Compared to similar home invasion films Hush (whose protagonist was deaf and mute) and Don’t Breathe (featuring Stephen Lang as a blind man), it’s commendable that See for Me cast Davenport, who is legally blind. And the film gives Sophie a redemptive arc that leaves her with a positive, if expected, ending. The problem is simply that See for Me doesn’t prioritize her characterization. So the journey she goes through lacks a certain resonance needed to make the film compelling and stand out in a crowded subgenre.

Overall, there is not much that differentiates See for Me from other films of its ilk. The film’s most unique attribute devolves it into a FPS video game shooter style that doesn’t work amidst some lacking character development. Despite a couple unique choices and plot devices, See for Me is a lacking attempt at what movies like Hush, The Strangers, and Don’t Breathe already were much more successful in pulling off.

See for Me is in theaters and on demand on January 7th.


About the Writer: Matt Hurt is the creator of ObsessiveViewer.com. He also created, hosts, and produces The Obsessive ViewerAnthology, and Tower Junkies podcasts. He is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association and lives in Indianapolis with his cat Pizza Roll. 

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