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« THE LAST LAUGH | Main | EMOCEAN »
Friday
Feb012019

I STILL SEE YOU

Stars: Bella Thorne, Richard Harmon, Louis Herthum, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Price-Francis, Hugh Dillon, Shaun Benson, Dave Brown, Sara Thompson and Thomas Elms.
Writers: Jason Fuchs; based on the novel ‘Break My Heart 1,000 Times’ by Daniel Waters.
Director: Scott Speers

Rating:★★★

There are still faint signs of life in the YA-adaption genre if the ironically titled I Still See You is any indication. Set in the wake of an ill-defined 'energy-pulse' disaster called ‘The Event’ that has left ghostly locals on every street corner, director Scott Speer’s reworking of the bestseller ‘Break My Heart 1,000 Times’ by Daniel Waters hits most of the creepy atmosphere, twisty mystery and teen romantic beats required to hold the target audience’s attention long enough – not always easy to do in the PG-rated supernatural-thriller game.

Continuing her ascent from Disney TV fame to big screen stardom, Bella Thorne (pictured, top) convinces as moody heroine Veronica, whose life starts to transform when visions of people past start to encroach on her real world. Known to the survivors as ‘Remnants’, the ethereal figures appear solid but soon drift away after re-experiencing their pre-ordained ‘loop’ – an echo of the final moments of their lives before ‘the incident’ doomed them.

Ronnie is visited in the shower by a hunky remnant we learn to be Brian (Thomas Elms), who leaves the word ‘RUN’ on her steamed-up mirror (both Thorne and Elms are captured by Speer's slightly leery lens in all their physical perfection). Engaging with equally moody, remnant-obsessed new student Kirk (Richard Harmon) to help her solve the mystery of the new vision in her life, secrets and lies begin to fold in on themselves in a narrative involving a series of unsolved murders that becomes increasingly convoluted. Along for the ride is Dermot Mulroney (pictured, below), bringing the credibility and integrity required of his paycheck presence as the teacher with his own secret, Mr Bitner.

The film is a polished visual spectacle given its snowbound middle-class suburban setting, with credit going to DOP Simon Dennis (The Sweeney, 2012; The Girl With All The Gifts, 2016) and his lighting team. Highlights include a visit to the disaster’s ‘ground zero’, which positively teems with remnants wandering the big city ghost town landscape; a series of spectral visits that haunt Ronnie during a high-school basketball game; and, a black-light bathroom sequence that unleashes the first of the films effectively staged jump-scares.

None of it will seem fresh to anyone over 20; revisit M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, obviously, and also Robert Zemeckis’ 2000 mystery What Lies Beneath for a big-budget studio spin on similar terrain. But the presence of the very appealing (and slightly too old for the part) Thorne, a bevy of chills that don’t rely on gore and a sentimental thematic thread that takes in paternal bonds and the power of memory, and I Still See You is an ideal early foray into the horror genre for the modern teenage girl and her slumber party pals.

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