Greetings again from the darkness. For those of us who enjoy the burst of adrenaline provided by thrillers, the premise of a blind person in peril is something we’ve seen a few other times, including WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967) with Audrey Hepburn, SEE NO EVIL (1971) with Mia Farrow, BLINK (1993), and the more recent DON’T BREATHE (2016, 2021) series with Stephen Lang. Director Randall Okita, working from a screenplay by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue, manages to use modern technology to provide a twist to a familiar set-up.
When we first see Sophie (the feature film debut of Skyler Davenport), she’s getting caught by her mom sneaking out of the house. Now this wouldn’t be that unusual were it not for the fact that Sophie is blind … a degenerative disease robbing her of her dream of making the Olympic ski team. She is independent to the point of stubborn, and has found a way to supplement her house/cat-sitting gigs with the help of her only friend Cam (Keaton Kaplan). Homeowner Debra (Laura Vandervoot) greets her at the sprawling, snow-covered remote mansion Sophie has been hired to ‘watch’.
Of course we know where this is headed, because who is more vulnerable than a blind girl alone in the house (with a cat)? The twist here is an app recommended by Sophie’s mom. It’s called “See For Me” and it’s a way for someone to assist a blind person by using the smart phone camera. Sophie is hooked up with Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy, “Black Sail”), a military veteran whose expertise at video game invasions will come in handy. Kelly is direct and efficient in her instructions to Sophie – from helping her jiggle open a sliding glass door to evading the three men who break into the house while she’s asleep.
The cat and mouse between Sophie and the intruders provides the necessary tension, and the main twists involve Kelly on the app and Sophie as a tough-to-like person. This is no angelic type that you’d like to hug and protect, in fact, she’s often abrasive to the point of rude. But most importantly, she’s tough and strong-minded. The interaction between Sophie and Kelly is the most interesting, and there’s also a sequence with a police officer that plays like a chain of events that could happen. Kim Coates adds a nice touch in his role … you might recall him as the drifter in WATERWORLD (1995).
By opening the film with “Introducing Skyler Davenport”, we know right away who the film belongs to. Skyler is a non-binary actor whose adult-onset vision impairment make the performance that much more impressive. Skyler is attempting to transition from a successful voice acting career into an on screen one, and this is a terrific start. We do wish the film had taken a few more risks, rather than sticking with some of the old stand-bys. The opportunities were there, but the punches weren’t thrown. Still, for a January thriller, director Okita’s film holds its own.
In select theaters and On Demand beginning January 7, 2022