Where I Watched it: Peacock
English Audio Description Provided By: Three Play Media
Narrated By: Olivia Willis
i really walk into films sometimes just for the sake of reviewing something that has audio description that gives a point of reference to my blind and visually impaired readers. I didn’t know what this was. After the fact, I saw it’s shockingly low IMDB score (this thing is in the basement), which i suspected would be low since the film stars Shane West, which is not a starting point for success. It did however manage to wrangle Bruce Dern in the most inconsequential role ever, so there’s something. Also, Stephen Lang and Vanessa Williams.
The short story is that a couple rents a house because the husband is an architect that is super obsessed with other architects, and this one was designed by someone he is a fanboy of. There is an opening sequence that immediately suggests something is not right, setting a tone for the future of the film, but we do time jump, and these are new characters.
What follows is a film that relies heavily on you having no clue what is going on. The film hinges on what it believes is its profound ability to mess with your mind, and distract you. It’s technically a horror movie of sorts, but the violence is rather low, there’s one jump scare, and the most nefarious thing to happen might just be a rather all too often potential sexual assault.
For a while, characters keep using the phrase “No one can know” while random side characters get the axe. Again, highlighting that you are supposed to be left in the dark here. In fact, the film is waiting for a certain moment in the film where it feels like it hits you over the head in this giddy middle schooler way of “Gotcha! See what i did there? Boy, I bet you didn’t see that coming. There’s no way you could have seen that coming. I did such a great job. Didn’t I? mom? MOM!?”
The reality is that the twist was never earned. in fact, it flashes all the hell around and gives you multiple explanations as to how you got here. A more reliable character explains that this point in the film was the moment everything changed and we missed it, but then there’s another moment that suggests something else happened, almost like it’s trying to be unnecessarily confusing. I’ll just say that ghosts are in this film, as a concept. It’s not something the film does a great job of hiding. But, then once you realize the context of why the ghosts are there, there are scenes that don’t work.
This film lives and dies with its own belief that it is far more interesting than it really is, or that it is something you haven’t seen before. That’s not true. We have seen films like this, it’s just those films played it better and when it was over, things made sense. Here? Good luck.
Mid Century doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has thematic elements all over the place, and the story is so sloppily placed together you find yourself asking questions like “Why even bother to kill that person off?”, “Where was that hand coming from, and whose hand was it?”, “Why are we learning to play chess now?” “Who is this police officer that just wants to get tacos and not investigate a potential crime?”
The film wasn’t confusing because of a lack of audio description either. I’m sure the folks at three play media did their best to try and make this hodgepodge of ideas comprehensible, because the narration is fine. And when you think it might not be, I’d just ask you ton wait until the end. Because you might feel like the film is withholding in the audio description area, but I’m also telling you that this film and it’s entire purpose is to withhold from you, so it can give you that “Gotcha!” Moment.
it’s a film that thinks it is far more clever than it is, but likely anyone who has watched enough twisty movies will see this for what it is. Still, I admit that a 3.3 on IMDB is really low. I’ve seen worse films this year, and at least this film has some moments, and I never had a problem with the acting. This just needed a much better director, one that could piece this together in a fashion befitting the mystery it could have been.
Shyamalan would have rewritten this a bit and then directed the shit out of it. At the core, there is a concept, but it just is far too interested in being confusing instead of interesting.
Final Grade: D+