Dir. Randall Okita (2021)
A young blind woman uses an app where someone can see for her, which comes in handy when she experiences a home invasion.
Technology is rad as hell. The fact that we live in an age where people with all sorts of disabilities can find easy, accessible options to completely eliminate their difficulties, or at least greatly alleviate them, is incredible. While it's easy to dismiss modern technology by its capabilities to watch cat videos and play Angry Birds, there are just so many amazing uses of these same gizmos that it's impossible to deny their positive impact on society. Of course, as with every other trend in the world, the horror genre tends to take advantage of these advances, with the technohorror subgenre critiquing everything from computers to smarthomes, and, now, smartphone apps that will help blind people see.
Former skier Sophie (Skyler Davenport) has agreed to cat-sit for a rich woman who was recently divorced, hiding her own plans to shoplift (homelift?) a bottle of expensive wine from her cellar with the assistance of video aide friend. Shortly after her arrival, however, a trio of men break into the house in an attempt to crack the safe hidden in the wall, and Sophie must use her new app See For Me, manned by army badass Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), to try to take them down. A cross between a cat-and-mouse thriller and standard home invasion flick, See For Me forces Sophie to face off against all three intruders and, eventually, the unknown voice on the phone who is guiding their actions.
Where See For Me falters is in its choice of protagonist. Davenport does a find job as the blind Sophie, to be sure, but Sophie is kinda a terrible human being who you never really get to pity for her plight. I understand it's 2023 and you shouldn't "pity" the disabled, but come on: she's a young blind girl who has lost her career as a competitive skier because she lost her ability to see. If that's not a recipe for compassion, I don't know what is. Making her a common thief eliminates a lot of the audience's rooting interests, making her seem just as bad as the people making her fight for her life, especially with the reveal that this isn't the first time she's ransacked the homes that she was hired to protect.
Other than that gripe, the movie is largely just ok. It's got some tension, as long as you can ignore the fact that her bright-as-hell phone screen would have alerted the bad guys long before she characteristically knocks over a plant or drops something, as characters like this always do. She's smart, which does give the film a little more watchability than it may otherwise have, but the audience is never able to escape the aforementioned lack of compassion. At one point, she even offers to get rid of the police if the robbers will agree to share their loot with her. At another, it seems like she's almost working with the big baddie all along, though this is dismissed almost as quickly as its introduced (both for no reason at all).
The only real good thing about the film is the presence of Sons of Anarchy's Kim Coates, who is only in the film for a brief time but makes a huge impact. And Coates is, to be fair, amazing, hamming it up as the same character he seems to play in everything I've seen him in. He's perfect as the "bad guy who may also be insane," and he relishes what little screentime he actually receives. He adds at least half a star to whatever ranking the film deserves.
By and large, though, the rest of the film is largely forgettable. Ok score, nothing groundbreaking, and acceptable cinematography that never pushes any limits or gives you too many exciting shots. The creativity of the mouse in this cat-and-mouse game makes the film entertaining, but it's not one that you'll need to watch more than once, and most people wouldn't miss out not watching it even the one time. For fans of home invasion movies, though, it does offer an interesting twist on a genre that can get stale awfully quick. Just don't expect to hope the girl makes it out alive at the end.
Who this movie is for: Home invasion fans, Thriller lovers, Stevie Wonder
Bottom line: See For Me is alright but nothing to write home about. It's worth a watch for fans of the genre, but it's far more thriller than horror to begin with. Kim Coates delivers an excellent performance, and Davenport and Kennedy work well as the team of people trying to survive the home invaders, but it's a story without the likable protagonist that could've helped wrap it into a tidy bow. I will give it credit for being a lot more violent than I expected, though. It's streaming on Hulu if you want to check it out, and if you're a fan of home invasion thrillers, you may very well enjoy it.