2/10 Writer/director David Koepp is all over the place. As a writer, he is hit or miss having written both phenomenal screenplays (“Jurassic Park”, “Carlito’s Way”, Spider-Man”) and horrendous misfires more recently (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, 2017’s “The Mummy”, “Inferno”). As a director, it has pretty much all been misfires as his previous movie to this, “Mortdecai”, was universally panned as one of the worst movies of the year. Which brings us to “You Should Have Left”, a movie I thought went straight to VOD because of the pandemic and theaters being closed but what instead went straight to VOD because of the terrible quality. It’s a shame too since I am a fan of both Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried and they were not the problem with this movie. Even the young actress who plays their daughter, Avery Tiiu Essex, did a good job. The real problem falls upon Koepp, who writes and directs this, adapting from the novel by Daniel Kehlmann. Bacon’s character gets some backstory and literally every other character in the movie gets none. Seyfried’s talents are completely wasted as she plays an actress (Universal shamelessly promotes its own “The Fast and the Furious” franchise in here) obsessed with her phone and that’s her entire personality. I assume Seyfried took the role because it was a quick shoot and decent money because she has nothing to work with here. The horror elements of a creepy house that isn’t what it seems has been done to death and the movie isn’t scary in the slightest. There are cliché jump scares, hallucinations/nightmares that almost every horror movie has and since we don’t know or care about these people, we couldn’t care less what happens to them. The ending is utterly predictable and while the speedy running time helps the movie go by quickly, it leaves no room for proper set up, development or character arcs. The daughter in the movie’s name is Ella and this might break the record for having a character yell another character’s name the most amount of times in a movie. If “The Wolf of Wall Street” used the F word 569 times, I think “You Should Have Left” might have screamed “Ella!” roughly the same number of times but in half the running time. Koepp probably told Bacon while filming, “If you run out of lines to say or forget your lines…just yell your daughter’s name again!”. This is the kind of movie that when the credits begin to roll, you already start forgetting what you just watched because there was nothing worth remembering. Koepp definitely leans towards these supernatural thrillers but they tend to garner the weakest results in his filmography. The man can write well (or at least he used to) so I am hoping he puts his energy into writing something outside of this genre so he can get his quality back up. A completely disposable, forgettable cliché, “You Should Have Left” lacks the depth, emotions, scares and everything else required to make a decent horror film. To Universal and Blumhouse I say, you should have left this screenplay in the “unproduced” or “development Hell” category.

#YouShouldHaveLeftThisUnwatched / #BlurOfEchoes / #LazyStupidLove / #Stank / #SceneGirls / #TheLastHouseYouShouldHaveLeft

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