(from left) Ella Conroy (Avery Essex) and Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon) in You Should Have Left, written and directed by David Koepp.

“You Should Have Left” is written and directed by David Koepp and stars the always entertaining Kevin Bacon, along with Amanda Seyfried, and young Avery Essex. This one centers on a couple played by Bacon and Seyfried. There is a large age gap between them, and their relationship is in need of a getaway to pump some life back into it. So, they decide to rent a home in Wales. A location they soon will discover harbors dark secrets and powers, where nothing that should make sense, does make sense.

This is a movie I didn’t mind as much as many others. I think it certainly could’ve been better. Koepp and Bacon together in “Stir of Echoes” was a fantastic result, and the result here for me was much more, just serviceable. This movie had its moments for me as a thriller once things got going, but it also took a little too long to get up and running. For more than half the film we’re hanging around with this couple. There are clear issues between them, and the seeds are planted that both may have things going on that are bit secretive.

But the story never bothers to develop these characters and without getting to know them throughout the film. Or really being able to see and understand how their relationship was formed. We as the viewer are unable to grasp the connection between them and are unable to completely invest in the mystery the film routinely tries to introduce. This is Blumhouse production and it very much feels like a Blumhouse movie. The attempts at scares are frequent and many don’t land because we’ve seen them done before.

The scenario of a location haunting a character and causing further separation with another character is a familiar trope in the genre and for that aspect I can see where many felt this movie was a letdown. I did find Kevin Bacon to be more than capable, but he was nothing close to as emotionally charged as he was in “Stir of Echoes” and that was my main gripe with this movie. It wasn’t that the movie didn’t feel very scary at all. Or the fact it slaps together a lot of genre tropes. My main disappointment was not getting to see an unhinged Kevin Bacon.

Instead he was rather subdued. He delivers flashes of intensity, that in the end just had me wanting to see more and feeling the film was lacking without them. Despite this sinister play on divine intervention, his character wasn’t much different from the beginning of the film than he was at the end, and it hinders the movie from leaving any kind of lasting impression. I did enjoy the movie much more in the final-act. Once the house is explored a bit more and Bacon starts to feel certain that something is haunting him in this home it does have its moments.

The film creates thought provoking elements about this home, what it can do, and why. But it doesn’t come together like it should’ve. The writing felt a little thin and it translates to a by-the-numbers horror movie, that isn’t really a horror movie. Despite its flaws however, I did find the movie enjoyable enough. It’s a PG-13 horror/thriller with an R rating. And without Kevin Bacon, and a great performance from a young Avery Essex, this would’ve been a complete miss. I do though think the $20 dollar price tag to rent is a little steep. But if you happen to stumble onto it down the road for free on a streaming service, it’s worth a shot.


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