BEHIND YOU (2020)
Directed by Andrew Mecham, Matthew Whedon
Written by Andrew Mecham, Matthew Whedon
Starring Addy Miller, Elizabeth Birkner, Jan Broberg, Philip Brodie, Aimee-Lynn Chadwick, Caroline Labrum, Skyler M. Day, Charan Prabhakar, Sterling Evans, Kory Abreu, Sienna Carlson,
& James C. Morris as the Demon!
Find out more about this film here!
The mirror has been the subject matter of a few notable horror films, namely OCULUS by Mike Flanagan and the under-appreciated film MIRRORS. While BEHIND YOU doesn’t live up to the standards of those two films, it does deliver an unorthodox story, some effective scary moments, and a cast of newcomers with a lot of talent.
BEHIND YOU begins forty years in the past in a large home shared by three sisters; Beth, Angela, and young Rachel. When Rachel sees something in the mirror behind her, Beth and her boyfriend Charles take part in a horrible act, leaving Rachel dead and a secret deeply buried. Flash forward to present day and after the death of Angela, the only place her two daughters can go is with their Aunt Beth (Jan Broberg) who still resides in the house from the opening moments. Though Aunt Beth attempts to keep Olivia (Addy Miller) and Claire (Elizabeth Birkner) away from the house, there is nowhere else for them to go. Once in the house, the children are given strict rules to follow. Of course, these rules are broken and Claire ends up being possessed by a demon that resides in the house. Now, Olivia doesn’t know where to turn as her own sister is trying to kill her and her Aunt Beth seems to be quite insane.
There are loads of well timed scares, decently paced moments of creep, and simple dark atmosphere to be enjoyed with BEHIND YOU. The film uses both what we see and what we can’t to really promote a sense of unease and terror. I liked the use of the mirror in this one as, usually, the supernatural don’t show up in mirrors. Vampires don’t cast a reflection, but BEHIND YOU twists that and has the supernatural forces living IN the mirrors, with nothing behind the fear-filled gazer when they turn around. It’s a simple twist like this that really breathes a fresh new life into an old concept.
The script of BEHIND YOU is rather complex and I don’t think it needs to be. The concept of the three sisters is really not even dealt with, as Angela really doesn’t get any screentime at all. With communication with their dead mother being one of the key factors in BEHIND YOU, I wish there would have been some moments in the film for us to get to know Angela and how important she was to her sister Beth and to her kids. There is also a lot of changing tides in BEHIND YOU, where you never really know if you can trust someone or not. This makes for some unsteady ground as the person who five minutes ago tried to kill someone is now seen as an ally. Again, I think a more streamlined story with more focus on plot rather than plot twist would have made this film a bit clearer.
As usual, I overthink these films. I liked the overall mood of the film and the two child stars (Addy Miller and Elizabeth Birkner) do a great job with some heavily horrific and emotional material. While this film’s protagonists are a pair of kids, this definitely doesn’t feel like a kiddie movie. BEHIND YOU is a solid little thriller with some surface scares and dark moments.