‘See for Me’ review: theft thriller does more than phone it
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In the tense home invasion thriller “See for Me,” Skyler Davenport plays Sophie, a former ski champion who has grown bitter and reckless since losing her sight in an accident. Sophie takes a cat sitting job in a remote area in upstate New York, planning to make some extra money by slipping and selling some of the owner’s lesser items. But his plans go wrong when a team of professional burglars break in, looking for a safe containing millions of dollars.
Dropping a blind character in a cat and mouse story isn’t all that new. This premise has been a staple of the genre from “Wait Until Dark” to “Don’t Breathe”. But director Randall Okita and screenwriters Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue add a few of their own wrinkles. On the one hand, their lead actor Davenport is also visually impaired, which adds a certain verisimilitude. Additionally, Sophie has an ally, Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy): a volunteer working for an online support application.
After the thieves arrive, Kelly – a military veteran and accomplished video player – acts as Sophie’s eyes through a cell phone camera. Once Sophie gets her hands on a gun, the duo’s efforts to escape and contain intruders become like an actual version of a first-person shooter.
Quirky and thrilling playing angle aside, “See for Me” is a fairly straightforward, but well-crafted thriller. Okita and the company do a good job early on in setting the parameters for Sophie’s situation: the size of the house, the location of the security system, and how long it will take for the police to respond to a call. 911. They even skillfully work in backstory pieces for the crooks (one of which is played by venerable badass character actor Kim Coates) to put the crime in context.
What really makes “See for Me” effective is Davenport’s performance, playing a delicate character. Far from being a holy martyr, Sophie is a wild card who takes advantage of some people who try to help her while angrily pushing others away. Sometimes she seems just as likely to ally with the robbers as she does to outsmart them. There are two sources of tension here: will the erratic Sophie make it out safe and sound? And – basically – does she want it?
‘See for me’
Duration of operation: 1 hour 32 minutes
Playing: Begins January 7, Lumiere Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Harkins, Chino Hills; Galaxy Mission Grove, Riverside; also available on VOD