YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT (2020) Reviews and overview

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‘The house finds you’

You Should Have Left is a 2020 American horror feature film about a banker who travels to a remote house in rural Wales with his family and regrets it. Hoping he can write the sequel to his big hit film, he begins to suffer from a severe case of stress and soon much worse.

Written and directed by David Koepp (Stir of Echoes; scriptwriter of The Mummy 2017; Spider-Man; Jurassic Park; Panic Room) based on a novella by Daniel Kehlmann, the Blumhouse production stars Amanda Seyfried (Scoob!; Jennifer’s Body), Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man; Flatliners; Tremors), Geoff Bell (Dementamania; The Reeds), Avery Essex and Colin Blumenau (Carmilla).

The film was produced by Jason Blum (The Purge and Halloween franchises), Kevin Bacon and Dean O’Toole (Walk Like a Panther), and executive produced by Jeanette Volturno, Couper Samuelson and Derek Ambrosi.

Ella Conroy (Avery Essex) and Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon)


Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon) is a successful middle-aged man whose marriage to his much younger actress wife, Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) is shredding at the seams, frayed by her secretiveness, his jealousy, and the shadow of his past.

In an effort to repair their relationship, Theo and Susanna book a vacation at a stunning, remote modern home in the Welsh countryside for themselves and their six-year-old daughter, Ella (Avery Essex).

What at first seems like a perfect retreat distorts into a perfect nightmare when Theo’s grasp on reality begins to unravel and he suspects that a sinister force within the house knows more than he or Susanna have revealed, even to each other…


You Should Have Left will be released by Universal On-Demand everywhere on June 19th 2020.


“Complementing the weak characters in You Should Have Left are a weak story and poorly-written dialogue. It makes effort at times to be clever, throwing a bit of non-linear storytelling, and a lurking creep named Stetler into the mix, but the efforts turn out to be tricks that we’ve seen in plenty of other films before, and it renders the twists obvious and dull.” CinemaBlend

” …YSHL suffers from а sluggish and uneventful first hour and muddled final act, and neither its cool visuals, nor the eerie tone, nor Bacon’s solid turn can make up for the lack of true frights or the vague, surreal mystery behind the loopy house.” CineMarvellous!

” …would be a perfectly fine popcorn-flick on a normal Friday night at a multiplex playing only one or two other thrillers, if that. But offer it as a twenty-dollar on-demand experience, as Universal is doing, and the sofa-bound viewer is forced to point out how very many scarier films are available, for free, just a click of the remote away.” The Hollywood Reporter

You Should Have Left is a mind-bending horror-thriller that will leave you impressed and a little scared to walk to the bathroom by yourself. It’s a fresh, supernatural take on both karma and hell. And it makes the statement that we all have to pay for our sins.” Horror Fuel

“A handful of odd interactions with others add a bit of color, though it’s left mostly to Bacon to pull together the film’s more ambitious threads. Eventually, the film collapses into less inspired tropes (creepy-dead-lady-in-a-bathtub!) and a thin explanation for all the madness that doesn’t quite jibe with everything clever that came before.” IndieWire

You Should Have Left combines strong characters and creepy cinematography for an effective haunted house story. Some questions may go unanswered and fans of the book might disagree with the different approach to the material but embrace the psychological aspects of the film and accept the claustrophobic atmosphere of the house.” Killer Horror Critic

” …the horror elements, including the temporal loop, seem a little too stale to enjoy. The plot becomes obvious when Conroy’s doubtful past is introduced […] To a seasoned fan of this genre, You Should Have Left is quite a disappointment.” Leaky Loonage

“It may not be reinventing the wheel, but it does a good job of preying on our fears of isolation, distrust, and insanity. It’s an enjoyable rabbit hole to go down even if it feels predictable at times. Additionally, it succeeds in giving viewers a few good jump scares while maintaining a sense of discomfort throughout its 90 min runtime.” Nightmarish Conjurings

“Even Bacon seems lost, unable to sell the immediacy of the film’s more intense moments, which come way too late anyway. You Should Have Left might have worked as a tighter episode of an anthology series but doesn’t have nearly enough meat on its bones for a feature-length.”

“[Koepp] stages a lengthy nightmare sequence in which the dreamer acknowledges it’s a dream, and builds tension and fear out of that. You might be able to see where some of the setpieces are going, but You Should Have Left’s overall deft mix of real-world concerns and supernatural menace assures that you won’t regret sticking with it.” Rue Morgue

” …You Should Have Left joins the haunted house sub-genre as, if not a classic-in-the-making, then as a more-than-solid, thoroughly engaging, ace-level effort from everyone involved.” Screen Anarchy

” …it’s a clever and in some ways facile shoot-the-works gothic psychological thriller. In a different filmmaker’s hands, it could easily have been a piece of hackwork. But Koepp […] directs this little genre piece with fluid and absorbing skill. The film is cunningly shot (by Angus Hudson) and edited (by Derek Ambrosi) so that you always feel there’s something sinister lurking around the next corner…” Variety

Cast and characters:

Amanda Seyfried … Susanna
Kevin Bacon … Theo Conroy
Avery Tiiu Essex … Ella
Eli Powers … Susanna’s Assistant
Colin Blumenau … Shopkeeper
Joshua C Jackson … Brian
Lowri Ann Richards … Tiny Woman

Technical details:

93 minutes

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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