Film

Review: See For Me, with Intriguing Performances, Puts an Interesting Twist on the Home Invasion Thriller

Thanks to a few choice story elements, the second feature from director Randall Okita (The Lockpicker) rises above its B-movie foundation in telling the story of blind former skier Sophie (Skyler Davenport, a veteran voice actor who is legally blind in real life), who is now a house/cat-sitter for hire. See For Me establishes Sophie’s independence early. She lives with her mother, but takes her sitting gigs all on her own. She even attempts to sneak out of the house without her mother’s knowledge as the film opens. She doesn’t need or want help of any kind, even when she should.

See for Me

Image courtesy of IFC Films.

Sophie’s blindness is certainly at the center of the film’s plot, but not in the ways we’re perhaps used to dealing with a disabled character. A close friend and fellow skier wishes she would entrust him to lead her down the slopes again using a system where he verbally guides her down hills. But she was an Olympic hopeful, and she rejects his offers repeatedly despite missing skiing tremendously. Which doesn’t mean she doesn’t require his help for other things, including getting oriented in the home of a new client (a recent divorcee, played by Laura Vandervoort) for whom she’s cat-sitting. Refusing help from the homeowner, she video-calls her friend, turns her phone around, and has him guide her through the house, including into the wine cellar, where she quickly pockets a pricey bottle that she believes the owner will never miss and that she can sell for a lot of cash. And even if she does, she’d never suspect the blind girl who’s looking after her cat.

Not long after arriving, Sophie promptly locks herself out of the house and begrudgingly uses a new app her mother has forwarded to her called See For Me, which connects blind users with volunteers who essentially act as their eyes for a period. After basically being talked down to by the first volunteer, Sophie is connected with Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy), a video game enthusiast and military veteran who has a gift for problem solving and great leadership. She finds a sneaky way to get Sophie back in the house and guides her through the environment to help her reset the alarm.

But on Sophie’s first night in the house, three men break in to empty the contents of a hidden safe. At first, they think they’re alone, but eventually figure out that an unexpected occupant is lurking about. First Sophie calls the police and then she calls Kelly, who manages to get her most of the way to escaping, until Sophie panics and stops listening to her. Rather than treating Sophie like a helpless victim (more akin to Wait Until Dark or more recently, Mike Flanagan’s Hush), director Okita portrays her as a smart, calculating woman of action. Since she’s blind, she’s technically not a witness and thus not a threat to the thieves. So she makes an arrangement with their unseen boss (Kim Coates) on the phone that if she is able to convince the responding officer that her 911 call was a mistake, they’ll cut her in on the take. Naturally, nothing goes exactly as planned, especially when Kelly does a little digging herself to locate Sophie and send additional help.

The suspense and action in See For Me is consistent, well-paced and solid, as the film forces Sophie to do things she’s not used to doing, like listening to others to guide her through intense situations and using a gun to possibly kill someone. The movie tends to skew a little dark in terms of its lighting, so it’s sometimes difficult to see exactly what’s going on. But most of the time, the action is easy to follow, and I like the idea that the filmmaker puts us in Sophie’s shoes every so often to let us know how she uses sound as a means to guide herself more precisely. Davenport is a real discovery, playing a flawed but beyond capable survivor, while Kennedy also impressed me in her different type of “person in the chair” role. The way she snaps into action and takes charge in every situation is inspiring and exactly the type of aide that Sophie needs in that moment. See For Me may not change the home-invasion thriller game completely, but it does give us a few new, much-appreciated pieces to play with for the time being.

The film is now playing in select theaters.

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