Friday, June 4, 2021

Caveat (2021)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Caveat (2021)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: HyneSight Films, Shudder
Director: Damian Mc Carthy
Writer:  Damian McCarthy
Actors: Ben Caplan, Conor Dwane, Jonathan French, Leila Sykes
Blurb from IMDb: A lone drifter suffering from partial memory loss accepts a job to look after a psychologically troubled woman in an abandoned house on an isolated island.

Selina’s Point of View:
Caveat started, and ended, especially strong.
A girl wielding a strange bunny toy and wandering some house felt silly, but it was surprisingly tense. I could almost hear my heart beating. The conclusion took an interesting turn and left things a little open – it wound up leaving me relatively fulfilled.
The rest of Caveat was kind of hit-or-miss
The set-up is a little ridiculous.
Isaac, played spectacularly by Jonathan French (Coranna, The Anniversary, Bravado), is talked into his ‘leash’ very quickly. He doesn’t seem to ask enough questions. The guy who hired him just relies on guilt to get him into the lock, and there you have it. I don’t know about that. I would have MANY more questions than the main character asked – and I would still be unlikely to agree.
It just didn’t feel believable, and that hurt my immersion.

In fact, the majority of the decisions made by the protagonist were just awful. He left no stupid decisions for anyone else, he used them all. It bordered on parody, maybe? Not the funny kind, either.
There were also some heavy exposition scenes that were painful to sit through. They were just boring. I felt like a few of them could have been cut.
Despite that, a lot of the scares were effective – if a little predictable.
I mean, one of the scenes reminded me of Parasite (2019). If you’re going to be inspired by a film for your horror moments, that’s not exactly the worst one to refer to.
For a full-length feature film debut, I think writer/director Damian Mc Carthy (Never Ever Open It, Hatch, Hungry Hickory) showed a lot of promise. I think this won’t be the best film he creates in his career – but it’s a good start.
I didn’t hate Caveat. It’s not the kind of thing I could sit through again, personally – but I might refer it to someone here or there.

Cat’s Point of View:
If I had to summarize Caveat with two words, they would be: dark and unsettling.
Frankly, I haven’t been quite so unnerved by a movie in quite a while, so I’d have to say that Caveat was wildly successful as a minimalist horror film. The setting was eerie, and even the shadows were utilized well. This movie featured the creepiest toy I’ve seen employed in a flick in quite a while. I think I might just have nightmares about that thing.
Caveat makes you feel every bit of its nearly hour and a half runtime – and yet, the time spent is on the edge of your seat rather than watching a clock to see when it’s over. It was odd, and confusing, at moments but it was hard to look away.
Of course, I was squinting to discern what was going on sometimes because dark can be used to describe the tone, but also refers to the literal nature of the film. Flashlights and their narrow beam of light are almost a whole character unto themselves here. The light was more than just a way to watch where the characters were going, but also unveiled some of the horrors that dwelled in the dark.

At first, I thought I had Caveat pegged for a typical haunted house tale when a few familiar tropes played out, but then everything turned on its ear a bit.
There was a psychological aspect that I didn’t quite expect from the description of the film, and it certainly helped elevate the story. 

Speaking of such: what the hell, man? The whole premise of this movie would have been a giant nope for me if I were in the poor schmuck’s shoes.
I can’t say that I’ll be watching Caveat again in the future, but Shudder has a winner with this movie and I’d highly recommend anyone with a subscription to give it a go. Just…maybe not if you’re seriously claustrophobic.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – 60/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

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