...intense, engaging, and at times quite moving
WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING (2021)
This film pulled me in from the get-go. Not only is it a horror film (my favorite) but the trailer hints at a psychological element which, if done well, can give a movie the edge it needs to go from good to "o-m-g that was crazy!" I was also excited to see Vinessa Shaw, who I know mostly from my yearly rewatches of Hocus Pocus. A single-room horror flick with a nostalgia-inducing star - I figured I couldn't go wrong!
With the exception of some flashbacks, the entire film takes place in one room. You don't need to be a director to figure out this is a tough ask for a full-length feature film. A single-room story makes it pretty much impossible to lean on flashy distractions and ever-changing backgrounds to keep a viewer engaged.
Director Sean King O'Grady was clearly up for the challenge. He manages to transform the space from roomy and inviting to a claustrophobia-inducing nightmare in the span of 90 minutes. I applaud his use of close-ups as the story progresses to hammer home the feeling of being "trapped." All in all, a job well done for a first-time director.
A family of four hunkers down during what appears to be a raging storm. They quickly discover that whatever is happening is far more sinister, and sheltering in place quickly turns into a fight for survival.
I enjoy plots like this, because as an audience member the fear of the unknown can be so much more terrifying than any monster or alien. There is a fair amount of gore sprinkled throughout, but it’s not overly grisly.
The element that left me wanting more was the payoff - the "reveal" of what was actually happening. The tension building was so well done that the third act didn’t live up to my hopes of a solid and satisfying conclusion.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
It's a small cast, and each actor really shines in their own way. Pat Healy gives a stellar performance as a man cracking under the pressure of living out a real-life nightmare. Sierra McCormick and John James Cronin play the two children and I was really impressed by the genuineness in their deliveries. The real standout for me was Vinessa Shaw. Her take on an exhausted mother struggling to protect her kids was heartbreaking, and one monologue in particular nearly had me in tears.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
It’s a simple setup visually and there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles to critique. The gore/bloody sequences were done well enough, so there are no complaints from me in this department.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
It’s a horror film, so there are, predictably, a lot of screams. Apart from the occasional cell phone alert, there’s not much to note, soundwise, and the score helps move the film along and increase tension where it needs to.
Who's the real threat: An unknown force destroying everything in its path? Or the people closest to you - the ones you thought you could trust? That's the big question the film asks its audience.
It is intense, engaging, and at times quite moving. A well-rounded group of talented actors brings genuineness to moments which may have otherwise felt contrived. Did the conclusion leave me wanting a little more? Sure, but overall, We Need To Do Something is a solid addition to the single-room horror genre.