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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

[Review] Welcome to the Blumhouse’s ‘The Lie’ Is a Grim, Predictable Thriller

With Welcome to the Blumhouse, Blumhouse and Amazon have teamed up to create a collection of genre films that center around family, either as a redemptive or destructive force. The first half of their eight-film series released exclusively on Amazon Prime Video this month, with Black Box and The Lie arriving as the first double feature. The latter is an adaptation of German thriller Wir Monster, reuniting writer/director Veena Sud with some of her stars from AMC’s The Killing to spin a thriller that examines how far parents will go to protect their children.

Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) and Rebecca (Mireille Enos) are a divorced couple busy with their respective professional lives, struggling to raise teen daughter Kayla (Joey King) between them. Though the divorce was awhile ago, Kayla remains hopeful her broken family will mend. To say her parents’ split left emotional wounds would be an understatement. When Jay takes Kayla to a weekend dance retreat, they stop along the way to pick up Kayla’s friend Brittany (Devery Jacobs). A short restroom stop later results in Brittany’s disappearance and a tearful confession of responsibility by Kayla. In a panic over the implications of what Kayla has done, Jay and Rebecca join forces. It starts with a lie that snowballs into many.

As the harrowing stakes increase and irrevocable choices are made, the parents realize there may be no limit in how far they’ll go to protect Kayla.

Thanks to the gorgeous icy setting and cinematography by Peter WunstorfThe Lie is a slickly produced thriller. With Sarsgaard and Enos as the leads, it’s also very well acted. They bring the emotional heft and complexity when there isn’t much on the page at all. We meet Rebecca’s new boyfriend at the beginning of the film, but he’s never seen or mentioned again. It’s just one of many examples of plot devices that come and go as convenient. Sud’s adaptation is a pretty barebones thriller rendered more complicated by the increasingly dire ramifications of the lies told and as more people get drawn in, including the police, the more collateral damage spreads. It’s Sarsgaard and Enos that sell the hell out of this little family. As the teen daughter that started it all, King struggles with a much more challenging task of making the whiny, tantrum-throwing Kayla likable. While it’s clear why she is the way she is, Kayla doesn’t endear herself well to the audience.

Based on the film’s first act, and unsubtle clues sprinkled throughout, very few will be unable to see the ending coming a mile away. Not only does it rob this thriller of some of its thrills, but it only exacerbates frustrations with specific actions and character beats. The Lie is meant to have a shocking conclusion, but it more fizzles with a groan. It effectively undermines much of what works well.

Sud keeps things moving at a brisk pace, offering a lean, mean little thriller that boasts a talented cast. It’s well constructed and well-acted, but it falls apart when it comes to its narrative. The film goes all-in on the family aspect that serves as the connective tissue in the Welcome to the Blumhouse series, but The Lie’s twisted little family is likely to leave a bitter aftertaste.

The Lie is now available on Amazon Prime Video.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3635262/reviewwelcome-blumhouses-lie-grim-predictable-thriller/

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