Grieving the loss of her daughter, Laura forms a friendship with a young girl named Megan, who’s just moved in next door. As she spends more time with Megan, she begins to notice similarities and knowledge of her deceased child, that the girl could never know. While those around her feel that she is simply struggling to cope, Laura is left completely bewildered and convinced Megan is her child, in some form. As tensions rise with Megan’s parents, Laura will be brought to the brink, uncertain of what’s true.
Here Before is an eloquent slow-burning thriller by director and screenwriter Stacey Gregg, serving as her debut film. With fantastic cinematography, you’re really blanketed in the desolation that our main character is experiencing in her mourning. It tackles an unimaginable grief for Laura, that Andrea Riseborough portrays in the most heartbreaking of ways. Her pain is so visceral and it’s truly a testament to Riseborough’s talent that we feel that; as her character tries to grasp at every fiber of hope.
Perhaps my only real grievance with the film is that while it’s billed as a psychological thriller, it didn’t push it enough in that aspect. There are some great editing tricks that offer unsettling visuals, and it definitely plays with the viewers mind to some degree. But it seemed a bit spread out. So rather than amping up the tension, it allowed for too much time to settle in between.
By the third act, things begin to fall into place and that’s where the film really drops an impactful moment. And though I’m impartial on the end, I found myself moved by the overall message and again, Riseborough’s incredible performance. For a debut feature, Gregg does wonders with taking on such a heavy theme and capturing the trauma around it. I’m certainly eager to see what she does next.
No update on release as of now.
See more SXSW reviews:
Writer and director Addison Heimann makes his directorial debut with a powerful film examining mental health and childhood trauma through the lens of horror. StarringContinue Reading