A group of thieves break into a home looking for a stash of cash and are subsequently picked off one by one by a ruthless blind person in See For Me, which amazingly and unfortunately is not a remake of Don’t Breathe. A decent thriller with a better concept than actual plot, See For Me has a lot going for it but never quite kicks into gear the way you’d hope.
Starring Skyler Davenport, who is visually impaired in real life, See For Me has her playing a former professional skier named Sophie who is now completely blind and bitter about life. She makes money house sitting for rich people (and stealing their expensive wine and selling it on eBay). When the house she is watching is broken into by several armed men, she turns to a “See For Me” app which allows a remote worker to become her eyes, potentially saving her.
It’s sort of a neat idea when you think about it, but director Randall Okita, working from a script by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue, doesn’t fully capitalize on the concept. Since Sophie is newly blind, she is truly sort of helpless on her own, which makes her a rather frustrating protagonist. She isn’t particularly likable either–and I’m not convinced intentionally so–and the decisions she makes throughout the film, while potentially compelling, don’t entirely work.
But Sophie isn’t really the issue. The app that gives the movie its name plays a big role, but largely vanishes from the story as the climax approaches. Given Sophie’s limitations as a blind person, the app should have been woven into the very fibers of the production. Instead, its usage just feels lazy, or at least not fleshed out enough to matter. I would have liked to see more suspense and complexity built around the app and the phone at Sophie’s disposal, but instead you just get the obligatory “low on battery” situation and not much else.
Okita could have gone another direction entirely and occasionally taken us into Sophie’s head–go all black and rely entirely on sound. This would have been a fascinating approach to experiment with to ramp up the tension and make us feel more of what Sophie is feeling, to bring to life the immense challenge she faces in surviving such a situation.
It doesn’t help the villains aren’t very good, either. I like that the filmmakers preferred to paint all of the characters, including Sophie, in shades of gray, but none of the bad guys are very menacing or memorable. Given the film’s other issues, Okita struggles to maintain a real sense of suspense.
Even still, at a brief 90 minutes, See For Me is moderately entertaining. Davenport makes for a fine lead, and while I don’t think some of the decisions her character makes in the movie result in the desired payoff, I appreciate that the filmmakers were willing to go in a different direction. There are a few strong sequences where Sophie squares off against her assailants. You could certainly do worse with 90 minutes of your life.
There’s a terrific, extremely thrilling movie hidden somewhere in See For Me. Unfortunately, it never comes into focus. Maybe there’s an app for that.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.