This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kurdt’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Incredibly fun to have absolutely no idea where this was going and genuinely feeling the thrill of being on the edge of my seat with anticipation. A wild, scary ride. Georgina Campbell, who I’ve never seen before, really gets across the palpable fear swimming through her veins. That way she yells down to Keith, with her voice trembling and panicky and desperate. Man, that’s terror. I actually liked her and Keith’s dynamic before, y’know, entering hell. Obviously it’s clever casting to have Keith played by literal Pennywise, naturally we’re going to suspect him and join her in feeling suspicious and anxious. Although sadly women in Tess’ position will always have to be wary of any man when being put in a vulnerable position like that - she has no idea who he is and has very few means of escape if anything turns - but it’s also clever how Keith is desperately trying to make her feel at ease but is inadvertently making her feel more anxious. I guess, thinking about it now, there’s actually a good contrast between Keith, who acts a bit weird but turns out to be harmless, and Justin Long’s AJ, who is introduced as a freewheeling likeable guy, but turns out to be a monster. And I guess the ending further contrasts AJ with ‘Mother,’ as she is just a victim of horrible circumstances who doesn’t know any better, doesn’t understand that she’s causing harm, while he is actively awful at all times in order to benefit only himself. It’s almost comical how truly despicable he is, but it works because Justin Long plays him like a real human being, so the character doesn’t feel like a thinly written embodiment of evil. Sadly, he feels like the kind of very real person many of us may know.
Anyway, the movie is a lot of fun. I kind of wish that there was an extra twist - when the Mother backed away from the room which turned out to contain the old guy from the flashback, because she was scared of what was inside, it felt like we were going to see something truly bizarre, as the houseless man had suggested when he said she wasn’t even the scariest thing in the house. But those were my own expectations, which were based on how surprising and good the movie had been up until that point. Overall I had a great time.