Tribeca Film Festival Review: See For Me treads familiar ground with a welcome creativity

The elevator pitch narrative of “blind subject is targeted by home invaders” is one that’s been explored before in the cinematic realm.  The 2016 double offering of Don’t Breathe and Netflix’s Hush both utilised this logline to impressive effect, and though See For Me is treading familiar ground, it too is at least doing so with a sense of freshness.

Screenwriters Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue (both making their feature length debut here) are clearly aware that this plot is already becoming something of an expected horror trope, so they wisely have shifted the elements about to throw audiences off the predetermined scent.  The main ace See For Me has up its sleeve is in lead Skyler Davenport, a visually impaired performer who injects their character with a strong sense of self and survival that ultimately leans into the film’s questioning of just who is the predator and who is the prey.

Though their character, Sophie, runs the risk of alienating hopefully invested audiences with her snaps of semi-entitlement – Sophie is adamant to everyone around her that she doesn’t require assistance or pity – it’s an understandable trait all the same.  A low-key grifter who uses her blindness to her advantage when swiping valuable items from the properties she housesits as a side-gig (who’s going to suspect the blind girl, right?), Sophie’s latest job puts her in a lavish, secluded estate whose matriarch (Laura Vandervoort) is enjoying her recent single status over an extended weekend getaway.

Despite her insistence at not needing any assistance, a momentary lapse in judgement results in Sophie being locked out, which in turn guides her to the film’s hook – an app entitled “See For Me”.  Using her phone’s camera and the guidance of a sighted responder on the other end – in this case the casually stern Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), a former army vet with a penchant for violent, first-person shooter games – Sophie is able to retreat back inside, seemingly unable to thank Kelly, though clearly aware that she should.

Once the app and Kelly are introduced, it’s only a matter of time before Randall Okita‘s cat-and-mouse game winds itself up, introducing the invasion element where a trio of men break-in, clearly under the impression the house would be vacant.  It’s a story additive we’ve seen before, but Okita’s handling of the tense atmosphere and Davenport’s take-no-prisoners performance allows See For Me to maintain an air of creativity – even if there are some moves we can see coming.

In already suggesting Sophie’s poker-faced temperament, the film framing her as anything other than a victim is much easier to swallow than had she been a more timid-leaning type who finds the strength to uncharacteristically overpower her assailants.  Sophie is a capable and manipulative force from the off, giving See For Me a morally questionable heroine who’s far more relatable than perhaps we’d like to admit.

THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

See For Me is screening as part of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which is being presented both virtually and physically between June 9th – 20th, 2021.  For more information head to the official Tribeca page.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.

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