You Should Have Left
Acclaimed filmmaker David Koepp, screenwriter of famous films, like Jurassic Park (1993) and Mission Impossible (1996), and director of others, like Secret Window (2004), brings us a new horror film called You Should Have Left ( 2020), based on the novel of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann.
You Should Have Left is a psychological horror film produced by Blumhouse Productions, who made possible projects like Paranormal Activity (2007), Insidious (2010) and The Invisible Man (2020). It tells the story of Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon), his wife Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) and their young daughter Ella (Avery Essex), who decide to spend their holidays in a lonely house in Wales. Soon, the house will start playing tricks on them as they fall into a spiral of fear and confusion.
Koepp is a filmmaker with a long career, but his latest films have not been as successful as the first ones. Among his most recent productions are titles such as Mortdecai (2015) and The Mummy (2017), films that were not well received by the audience and critics. You Should Have Left is a similar case.
Although the film has a fresh perspective on the haunted house resource, it doesn’t get to explore it enough to excuse a story that is closer to a drama. The film never manages to generate an adequate space of tension for horror and many of its scenes generate expectations that are never met. Despite the fact that Theo Conroy is established in the original You Should Have Left novel as a screenplay writer, in the film it is not clear who he is, what he does or what his aspirations are, which prevents the spectators to empathize with this or any other character that offers no development at all.
In addition to a mediocre critical reception, the film was accused of plagiarism by writer Mark Z. Danielewski, author of The House of Leaves, a book that apparently inspired some scenes from the film that are not in Kehlmann‘s novel. All in all, You Should Have Left is a horror movie that isn’t scary and one of Koepp‘s weirdest projects to date.