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You Should Have Left #MovieReview

Strange events plague a couple and their young daughter when they rent a secluded countryside house that has a dark past.

Release Date: 19 June 2020 | Runtime: 1hr 33min | Genre: Horror | Source: Streaming

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You Should Have Left Review

Hello, it is I – the single viewer who seems to have actually enjoyed You Should Have Left.

Maybe my tempered expectations, given the lukewarm-to-bad reviews that made the rounds when this one first released, or maybe it was my familiarity with the source material (you can find my review of the book here) but I thought this was a pretty excellent adaptation of Daniel Kehlmann’s novella.

The movie shifts the setting from the mountains of Germany to Wales, but the general premise is the same: Kevin Bacon stars as Troy, a middle-aged man married to a young, successful actress (portrayed by Amanda Seyfried). In order to reconnect as a family before Susanna’s next stint away for a film, they rent a house online on a secluded hill in Wales and away Troy and Susanna go, with their 6-year-old daughter Ella in tow. But, of course – the house is not what it seems.

The film adds more family drama (in the form of Troy’s dark past) to the bones provided by the novella. I was mostly okay with this new element, but I couldn’t help feeling it did make for a convenient excuse as to why the events in the house were transpiring. It’s not a bad addition, and Troy’s character did need to be fleshed out past the glimpses we get of the novella’s unnamed narrator, but again…felt just a little too convenient.

I do have to take my hat off to the entire cast though. This is a well-acted film, which is especially important given the small cast of characters. Bacon is obviously good, but the real star is Avery Essex as Ella. So often in horror movies, the child actors are…shall we say, not the very best? But in this case, Essex absolutely killed it.

You Should Have Left is so much more than a haunted house film, and I can understand why, if a view went in expecting your typical haunting, they would have left (see what I did there?) disappointed. I thought that the psychological feeling of unease that the book did so fantastically was translated well to film. It isn’t necessarily a scary film, but it is very unsettling.

This won’t be a film for everyone, that much is clear from the reviews. But to anyone seeking a different, quieter sort of horror film, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one. As well, I think anyone who enjoyed the novella would be more than happy with this adaptation.

Published inMovie ReviewsStarred Reviews


  1. I, too, enjoyed watching this movie. Generally, I don’t rely on the critics and only barely listen to the thoughts from others.

    Side note: Did you notice how much young Avery resembles a young Cloé Grace Moretz? Uncanny, I’d say.

    • Sam_b

      It really is a striking resemblance! Definitely noticed that as well.

      Glad you also enjoyed this one!

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