Haunted house movies are a dime a dozen. It's very tough to be original anymore. There are so many tropes that have been done to death, and the gems are few and far between. You Should Have Left isn't anything special, but it's hardly the worst of the bunch. Kevin Bacon does a decent job with the material, but there's far too many unresolved questions by the film's end. There's almost no scary moments, though the atmosphere is quite creepy. If there had been some genuine scares, this could've been something worth talking about.
Theo Conroy (Bacon) is an infamous man who is notable for being acquitted of his wife's death. He remarried an actress (Seyfried) much younger than him, and they have trouble connecting. Together with their young daughter, they rent a vacation home in Wales that has an impossible floor plan and is home to some sort of shadow entity that feeds on souls. It's implied that it's the devil, but we never really know. Theo and Susanna's relationship is further strained, leaving him alone in the house with his daughter, which is where things really pick up. There's some eerie moments when the hallways start to change, but overall it's pretty dull. The ending raises a lot of questions.
You Should Have Left is also a bad title, in my opinion. Personally, I don't like movie titles that are sentences. It's too much. But I digress. This movie is a decent watch for Bacon's performance, but if you're looking for scares, this is the wrong movie for you. Regardless of the lockdown, I think this one was gonna bomb with or without a theatrical release.
You Should Have Left is based on the novella of the same name by Daniel Kehlmann and is one of the many 2020 films that intended on having a theatrical release but due to COVID, it became available through VOD on June 18th. I haven’t been able to see a ton of 2020 films and I think this one will get sort of lost without that summer theater experience that gets so many horror fans in the seats. While there are a few scary moments and some decent cinematography, You Should Have Left just feels like something we’ve seen before.
Theo Conroy is a successful man who is married to an actress that is much younger than him. Their relationship has the problems you think it would. She’s on her phone too much, he gets jealous and doesn’t understand her but there’s an even deeper truth that actually haunts them as they travel to an isolated house in Wales with Theo’s six year old daughter, Ella. The house they stay in is not what it appears to be as the corridors change and new doors that never existed show up. Theo is forced to confront his past with Ella’s biological mother as the house confronts him.
I don’t think You Should Have Left has too much originality or even much to say, but I did like the atmosphere at times. Kevin Bacon is doing what he can as Theo but the writing is pretty underwhelming. There are small stretches of quality horror, but never enough to really fulfill an entire scene or plot line. David Koepp has certainly done better work in the past, but I do hope he gives horror another go because he has some potential.