Director: Alex McAulay
Cast: Jack Dylan Grazer, Fionn Whitehead, Rainn Wilson, Mena Suvari
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This film was recommended by a friend via Facebook, who happened to also be the same friend who recommended the film #Inheritance last year. At one point, I said to myself, “He sure likes films with folks trapped underground in some capacity” (LOL—I’m sure he’ll see this review).
#DontTellASoul is Comedy Central’s #SouthPark meets #Inheritance meets #ChildsPlay of the 90s meets Unsolved Mysteries of the 80s. The concept was interesting, but the overall product came off a little too forced, and the ending felt lazy.
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Below are my grades for key components in #DontTellASoul that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating in my breakdown, but will continue with minus-ratings.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Character Arc/Development: C-
Entertainment Factor: Don’t Rush
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1. I think the acting across the board was pretty solid. 👍🏾
2. However, to point #1, the character Matt was written a little too exaggerated for me. It was clear that there was mental instability coupled with their living situation, and this could have added some texture to the story if utilized. 🥴🤷🏾♂️
3. Her and this damn Diet Soda. 🤦🏾♂️🤣
4. Soooo…the friend who staked the place out didn’t want a cut? Didn’t even think to take on the opportunity himself? That’s interesting… 🤨
5. I really got annoyed with these overly childish ass threats/forms of blackmail by Joey…something just didn’t feel genuine about them… 🤦🏾♂️
6. And, to piggyback off of points #5 and 2, the writing was very mediocre. If it wasn’t the blackmailing that just didn’t seem to fit/make believable sense with the context, it was that damn ending… 🤦🏾♂️
7. And to emphasize a point made in #6—YES, that ending was TRAAAAASH! Im like, WHAT!? Did I miss something? 👎🏾👎🏾👎🏾
8. You know, there are moments in thrillers where you have this very likable/hopeful character who usually comes through in the end. I am immediately reminded of how Lil Rel’s character in #GetOut got so much applause when he showed up at the right moment towards the end…
#DontTellASoul attempted to do that—having this surprise moment towards the end—but it didn’t quite hit the same. Maybe because there wasn’t enough “thrill” in this thriller…just heavy drama? 🥴🤷🏾♂️
9. The best moments of this film were seeing the development of Joey’s character with Hamby. Their moments together, though a little choppy, made sense due to Joey’s context/situation. 👍🏾👍🏾
10. Phew Chile, the party scene… … …so no one had second thoughts after all that? 👀
11. The level of physical and psychological, and emotional abuse is astronomical. For no reason. 🥴🤦🏾♂️
12. I think the concept of Hamby’s character was very interesting in relationship to Joey. I would actually like to see someone do a full story based on the concept of their relationship—that could be very interesting (although for some reason, I feel like there is something out there that I may have seen, I just can’t put my finger on it…).👍🏾👍🏾
13. Now the FIRST “twist”/surprise…that had potential to be so much wilder than it actually ended up being…😩🤦🏾♂️
14. …but that second “twist”/surprise…eh. It was something that could have been discussed throughout the movie when on that “specific topic.” It’s 2021! We have the history and other stories to know that happens/has happened/can happen, so why keep it a “surprise”?🤦🏾♂️
15. And, to piggyback off point #13, it was THAT moment…that second “twist”/surprise that made me say, “yeah…this is clearly coming from a patriarchal perspective.”🤦🏾♂️
16. ALSO, that aspect to the background could have provided a much needed texture to the plot to better elevate and rationalize the relationships in the home. 🤷🏾♂️
17. One thing I will say about the writing is that it made sure to include lines or events that would later help be the explanation for other events. 👍🏾
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Overall, #DontTellASoul is a decent experimental thriller/drama that would be great as a “my very first scary movie” contender for a mature pre-teen or someone just wanting something low scale within the genre to watch; but the writing is too safe/watered down, and lacks complexity for me, which isn’t worth the 5.99 on Amazon (this film should be free, or 1-2.99 tops). There’s too many clear opportunities for this thriller to elevate, and yet it chose to plateau.