ST. LOUIS — The things people do for their kids will scare you. Just ask the movies. They can't stop making movies about bad decisions inside a seemingly ordinary family.
In the new Amazon Original, part of a four-part Welcome to The Blumhouse series of flicks, "The Lie," the lengths that a mother and father will go for their kid surrounds the movie in instant intrigue, and ambition. But could Veena Sud-well known for potent thrillers like "The Killing" and "Seven Seconds"-take that ambition and produce a well-rounded thriller for us?
That's the question I tackle in my latest "5 Things to know" piece, where I can add a little more mystery to the review.
1. The acting is overwrought and unintentionally funny
Maybe overdoing it was a better way to put it. Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos are accomplished actors, but they take the material nowhere here. They both pick a couple expressions and hammer them into the story, which surrounds a murder in a small town up in Canada, and the two estranged parents working together to cover up their daughter's (Joey King) crime. The setup and initial look wasn't unconvincing, but the two leads find a way to make a silly, messy film seem worse.
2. You'll want to smack the entire cast at least once apiece
Yeah, this is the film that makes you mad, because of how stubborn and dumb the characters are and act in this story. The parents refuse to interrogate their own daughter, even though she gives them every reason to believe the worst of her intentions. The uneasy yet still poorly acted confrontations between the best friend's dad and Enos' mother.
3. It's not that scary or interesting
With the mysterious murder in the woods opening, the film really goes downhill in the scary and intrigue department real fast. A film like "The Decline," which was also filmed in Canada, took the setup and ran hard with it. "The Lie" just fumbles the ball immediately, losing it in the snow.
Bonus Point: A LATE TWIST doesn't rescue the film, but keeps it from being very poor.
4. The film is a remake of a 2015 German film
"We Monsters" came out five years ago to very little stateside intrigue, and IMDB (Internet Movie Database) doesn't have a lot of reviews for it. Something tells me it would be more sincere and well-conceived than this film. The title is better, and the foreign language flavor gives the story extra juice. You won't recognize the actors as much, which only aides the story. It's available for $4.99 on iTunes.
5. Enos and Sud are becoming a creating team
Sud loves to make thought-provoking murder mystery stories with a backbone of racism, corruption, or simply the flawed and imperfect aspects of the human soul. Her results may be mixed, but her ambition is firm. Enos rode that horse to victory in the AMC series, but here it all just fell flat. I hope the duo keeps making things together though, just more polished than this.
"The Lie" is available FREE of charge to Amazon Prime members. Is it worth a watch? No. I can't recommend it. While the end result isn't as morally weak and aggravating as the family at the center of the movie, it's not worthy of your time. Skip it.