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SEE FOR ME (2022) review

January 16, 2022


written by: Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue
produced by: Matt Code and Kristy Neville
directed by: Randall Okita
rated: not rated
runtime: 92 min.
U.S. release date: January 7, 2022 (Amazon Prime, Google Play, Apple TV & YouTube)


Movies that involve around home invasions have been around for quite some time. Some have been based on true events, while others have gradually developed their own sub-category in either the thriller or horror genre. While it’s rare, sometimes, the protagonist will be given a physical disability to make them potentially more vulnerable and increase the stakes. That’s what we have with “See for Me”, a home invasion thriller helmed by Canadian director Randall Okita, in which a young blind woman has to content with criminals during a breaking and entering scenario. What sets this apart from just about any other movie like it is that the role is played by Skyler Davenport, who is a visually-impaired actor, and that lends a certain degree of realism and believability that viewers would likely not get if someone was acting blind.

Not knowing this going in won’t take anything away from the viewing experience, but that was actually the curiosity draw for me, and knowing that definitely made me see beyond the typical conventions of the genre. Indeed the screenplay by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue incorporates certain specifics regarding how blindness can be navigating in a modern day setting. There’s a deliberate emphasize on sound here, relying largely on stillness and quiet, especially when the peril of the story begins, just don’t expect the antagonists to be fully-realized.

After an ocular disease called retinitis pigmentosa claimed her sight, teen skiing champion Sophie (Davenport) is left with shattered dreams. Her independent stubborn nature has increased, refusing help by her concerned mother (Natalie Brown) or anyone else, especially from her friend Cam (Keaton Kaplan), who wants to help her train for the Paralympics. To make money she takes house-sitting gigs that usually involve taking care of a pet while the owner is away. Her latest opportunity is cat-sitting in a remote mansion owned by the newly-divorced, Debra (Laura Vandervoort), who is assured that Sophie can do the job despite her initial reservations. She video calls Cam, who walks her through what the place looks like as she holds her phone out in front of her. It’s a clever use of technology that will factor in predominately in an applicably realistic manner throughout the rest of the movie.



Things are going just fine for Sophie until she is awoken by noises in the house after she’s gone to sleep. Knowing she’s not alone and desperate for help, she hides and calls 911, but is told it’ll take at least twenty minutes before anyone arrives to her location. We soon learn that her uninvited late night guests are Otis (George Tchortov), Dave (Joe Pingue), and Ernie (Pascal Langdale), three crooks taking orders by phone from Rico (Kim Coates), who plan on breaking into a hidden safe in order to grab the millions of dollars stored inside. It’s a seemingly simple money-grab with the belief that no one else is home. They’re wrong and now the trio are in a bind and Sophie is in peril, desperate to get out of there. This is when Sophie resorts to using an app her mother had previously emailed her about. It’s called “See for Me” and it allows visually challenged or impaired individuals to call upon a pair of eyes to assist them as they navigate their surroundings. As silent as possible, she quickly downloads and creates an account on the app, and eventually winds up connecting with Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), an ex-military/current “Call of Duty” type gamer, residing in Florida, who is tasked with walking Sophie through this without any harm coming to her.

“See for Me” wisely spends its opening thirty minutes getting viewers acquainted with who Sophie is and what her world is like. We catch on that she was once a skiing sensation, but there’s also something else about her attitude that’s intriguing about her character. One gets the impression that she was always an independent and stubborn spirit, but that increased greatly once she became blind, which shows in an noticeable resentment and bitterness that’s under the surface (when anyone offers her help, she quickly refuses and brushes them away) that has led her into choosing morally questionable decisions. Sophie anticipates her employers believing a blind woman to be reliable and trustworthy, but she has a side hustle that no one would suspect and we see this play out when she has Cam guide her down to a wine cellar, pulling a bottle out and asking him to read what it is, with the idea that she will steal it and sell it online for extra cash. This aspect of the character is a fascinating element that the screenwriters add. While she is a sympathetic protagonist, learning that she has criminal intent puts the audience in a fascinating position. We want her to be safe and succeed because of her past and what’s been taken away from her, but we hope she will also have an opportunity course-correct her behavior as well.



The titular device that becomes a lifeline for Sophie is also a very interesting plot device in the film. The first time she uses the app is when she accidentally locks herself out of the house and is left in the snowy cold. Frustrated, she reluctantly uses the app and that’s the first time she connects with Kelly, who shows a great deal of patience and no-nonsense attitude with the abrasive Sophie. Kelly’s personality is used to dealing with such attitudes, considering her military experience and once can safely assume gamer trolls. The script doesn’t really go in to why Kelly is no longer in the military, but in her interaction with Sophie throughout the night, one gets the idea that she has her own traumatic baggage as well. The reliance Sophie develops towards Kelly makes for some engaging and intense viewing. As the inevitable violent interaction with the thieves occur, Kelly must not only help Sophie maneuver, but also mentally and emotionally encourage her to take action and guide with the use of whatever weapons are on hand to defend herself.

Davenport delivers some really compelling work here in her feature-length film debut. She’s no stranger to acting, since she has a good amount of voice acting work for video games and television behind her, but she is able to focus on who Sophie is here instead of what she doesn’t have, which lends an obvious authenticity. The way Davenport internally weighs Sophie’s thoughts and emotions in a crisis, especially when a police officer (Emily Piggford) arrives on the scene in response to the 911 call from earlier, winds up being one of many memorable moments the actor conveys as she struggles with the right choice to make. Unfortunately, the actors playing the antagonists in “See for Me” come across as stereotypical invaders, despite the potential these actors bring to the role. The writing just isn’t there for them and Okita is understandably focused on Sophie’s survival given the runtime we have here, but there’s still room for intriguing invaders in this genre (see David Fincher’s “Panic Room”). It would’ve been great to know more about Rico, the mysterious figure the trio report to, but when the great character actor Kim Coates shows up, not much is revealed and the cat-and-mouse game that ensues is over in no time.



That being said, Okita certainly orchestrates some intense near misses for Sophie. Since she’s the main character, we know she’s going to make it out alright, but how that’s going to play out is what keeps the audience engaged. “See for Me” is best when it’s relying on Sophie contending with low battery warnings on her phone and Kelly helping her point a gun at her attackers. The film definitely had me curious about the apps out there like this that are available to those who need them.

The movie that comes to mind while watching “See for Me” is 1967’s “Wait Until Dark”, in which Audrey Hepburn played a young blind woman (she was 38, so I suppose “young” is under 40?) who must contend with home invaders in her New York City basement apartment. That classic film also predominately deals with a single location at night in a compromising situation. There are definitely some surface level similarities between the two films, but I like how “See for Me” gives us a more complex, less sympathetic character to follow.


RATING: **1/2


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