Home invasion in the dark of night in a remote upstate area of New York sounds frightening for any able bodied individual. However, in the film See For Me danger remains the farthest thought from Sophie’s mind (Skyler Davenport). Perhaps, the accident which blinded her leaves no room for other considerations. You see, the worst already happened. From the near twenty-something’s perspective nothing tops that horror which potentially ended her skiing career.
Indeed, Randall Okita’s home invasion thriller See For Me begins with misdirection. And writers Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue cleverly target Sophie’s weaknesses. First, adjusting to the vulnerabilities of her blindness creates inner conflict. Second, she overcompensates with desperate determination and “attitude” to triumph over her condition. Third, she cuts ethical corners, stealing to help herself financially. With an opaque focus Yorke and Gushue diffuse the foolhardiness of Sophie’s choice to be alone in an isolated area far from civilization for money. Instead, they emphasize Sophie’s overconfident reliance on her own strength.
In relaying the character’s condition from the outset, we note her “attitude.” She declines help from her mother and house owner Debra (Laura Vandervoort). Yet, we identify with her choice to be independent. Only when filmmakers clue us into her potentially dire situation, revealed when she locks herself out of the expansive, modern mansion, do we assess her foolishness. Potentially, human predators may use her as easy prey.
Nevertheless, Sophie does rely on a powerful asset. The digital app, “See For Me,” offers live phone help. During the lock-out Sophie connects with Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy). An army veteran who spends her days playing first person shooter games, Kelly lives out west. But her location, not a liability digitally, allows Kelly to earn a salary applying her skills. With quick thinking, Kelly assists Sofie to regain entrance through a side window. The app makes Sofie inviolate, so she’s not as vulnerable as we suspected initially. But danger lurks in the circumstance. Okita has hooked us into that irony of suspense and the potential hopelessness of her surroundings and condition. From then on we expect that some other careless mistake will leap out to confront her.
Of course, we don’t have to wait long for it to arrive. It comes in the form of two menacing thieves who seek the contents of a safe. They, too, rely on a guide who masterminds the operation (the excellent Kim Coates).
The set up has echoes of the classic thriller Wait Until Dark (1967). Without the superb menace of Alan Aarkin and fierce helplessness of Audrey Hepburn. the film falls short, though it succeeds in keeping us engaged. As the situation unfolds, how Sophie must deal with the thieves and thwart them with Kelly as her eyes remains compelling and terrifying. We ride Sophie’s downhill race against death expecting blood at every dark corner of the mansion. Filmmakers don’t spare the thrills. See For Me portends the saving grace of digital technology. Also, it reveals the dark underside of its abuse when the love of money drives others to risk death.
Currently screening at Tribeca Film Festival online check this link for tickets and times: CLICK HERE.