Joseph’s Lund International Fantastic Film Festival Reviews: See for Me and Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It

See for Me
Directed by Randall Okita
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★

Sophie (Skyler Davenport) is a young woman who went blind because of a genetic disorder. Once a competitive downhill skier, she now pet-sits for wealthy clients and has found an illegal way to make extra money while doing so. The film’s first act places her at a gig in a large, secluded home in upstate New York, where the defiantly independent Sophie begrudgingly downloads a phone app that her mother recommended — See For Me, which connects visually impaired users with random employees who act as their guides through video chat — after she accidentally gets locked out of the mansion. Iraqi war veteran and first-person–shooter (FPS) game player Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy) helps her out, and when thieves break into the home thinking it is empty, Sophie must turn to Kelly again for assistance, though the blind girl’s emotional response is more flight than fight, while Kelly insists she must defend herself. Certain sequences exactly parallel FPS games in a rather on-the-nose manner, and screenwriters Adam Yorke & Tommy Gushue show obvious inspirations from Wait Until Dark (1967) and other films that followed with blind protagonists vs. home invaders, as well as from previous thrillers set in high-tech housing, but they have crafted an intriguing main character in the morally ambiguous and hot-headed Sophie and offer some unique new takes. Director Randall Okita deftly helms See for Me (2021) with a keen sense of ratcheting up suspense. Davenport, who is visually impaired, invests Sophie with an inner strength that is sometimes honest and a shield at other times, going through a wide range of emotions from bitterness to terrified, and beyond. Kennedy’s performance as the See for Me contact who does her best to help out Sophie is quite good, as well, and the two actors have good chemistry together, even though their characters are several states away from each other.

Fangoria! Woo!
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It
Directed by Yernar Nurgaliyev 
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★

It’s a comedy of terrors when three friends go on a fishing trip in director Yernar Nurgaliyev’s Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It (Kazakhstan; 2020). Dastan (Daniar Alshinov) needs a break from his high-maintenance, highly critical significant other Zhanna (Asel Kaliyeva) before their first child is born, so he goes on a sudden road trip — much to her vexation — with his buddies. As they travel in their sex-doll–filled van and then their small boat and a raft made up of those same sex dolls, they cause accidental mayhem and deaths. The comedy ranges from Three Stooges slapstick to Farrelly brothers broad humor to violent horror comedy as the trio crosses paths with a ragtag group of outlaws, a psychotic father and daughter, and a one-eyed rural maniac. If that sounds like a lot of characters and potential subplots crammed into one film, that might be because Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It had six writers, including Nurgaliyev, who juggles everything well enough and provides enough offbeat flavor that the film stays entertaining and engaging for its 84-minute running time. Although there aren’t really any likable characters in the traditional sense, it is interesting to see who might survive this lads’ weekend gone awry.

Reviews by Joseph Perry

See for Me and Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It screen as part of Sweden’s Lund International Fantastic Film Festival , which runs as a hybrid version with both in-theater and virtual versions from October 30–November 5, 2021. For more information, visit https://www.fff.se/.

Categories: Festivals, ReviewsTags: , ,

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