WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING (2021)
Directed by Sean King O’Grady.
Written by Max Booth III.
Starring Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, Pat Healy, Lisette Alexis, John James Cronin, Logan Kearney, Dan John Miller, Ozzy Osbourne
Find out more about this film here!
With a tornado thundering outside, a family of four take shelter in a bathroom to ride the storm out. When the tornado passes, the family find out that a branch has broken through the ceiling and blocked the door, trapping the four in the small room. Robert (Pat Healy) is busy attempting to block out his problems with alcohol while Diane (Vinessa Shaw) distracts herself by taking care of the two kids. Bobby (John James Cronin) is busy trying to distinguish what kind of thunderstorm is passing overhead, while big sister Melissa (Sierra McCormick) feels that she might be the cause of all of the destruction outside the home. See Melissa has a dark secret involving her relationship with best friend Amy (Lisette Alexis) and that secret seems to have followed Melissa home and is pulling out the worst of herself and her family while trapped in this secluded and desperate situation. As tensions rise between all in the family, they desperately attempt to get out and get to the bottom of exactly what is going on.
WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING is a pretty solid single location film that would work as an interesting TWILIGHT ZONE episode or stage play. It traps four talented actors in a small room and basically has them bounce off of each other for the duration. For the most part, this structure works, mainly because the actors are talented enough to pull it off. Pat Healy always gives his all to his performances and does so here, even when he’s playing a somewhat one-note drunk father character. Still, there’s something about his performance here that allowed me to actually see through his alcoholic ramblings and moments of lucidity and find something to feel for this character. That’s all Healy and I doubt few other actors would have been able to pull that off like he did. Same goes for Vinessa Shaw’s Diane who is obviously cheating on her husband, yet still focuses on her family to get them through this crisis. Sure, little John James Cronin is a young actor, but he does deliver some funny lines that cut the tension and Sierra McCormick is a strong up and comer, able to convey innocence, wonder, and tragedy all at once in her heavily painted eyes. This film works as long as it does because of the strength of these actors trapped in this bathroom.
Filmmaker Sean King O’Grady and writer Max Booth III also fill the film with all sorts of strange occurrences that keep the mystery going for the most part. Be it the storm or whatever kind of monster is rooting around outside or the invading snake that gets in through the door, the action keeps pumping forward even without changing locales. I also have to commend the film for not only referencing Ozzy Osbourne’s most infamous on-stage antics, but using Ozzy’s voice during one of the film’s creepiest of scenes. That was an admittedly nice touch.
The problem with WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING is that it would make for an awesome half hour episode in an anthology series, but turns out to be not enough to stretch to feature length, let alone an hour and forty five minutes. Had a solid thirty minutes or so been trimmed off, I think my attitude towards this one would be different, but as is, scenes become repetitious and redundant past the 50 minute mark. I like it that the bulk of the action takes place solely in this bathroom, but think the random flashbacks really only serve to deliver exposition we could have received either through dialog or communicated via texts as these four are very reliant on their technology.
The biggest problem with WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING is the ending though. Like most films of this type, a non-ending is used, cutting away to credits before any kind of satisfying wrap up. It’s almost like the film ends with a bad punchline rather than a conclusion worthy of the performances that lead up to it. This left me feeling quite sour leaving WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING and honestly, had that ending been reedited and shuffled a bit, it would have been perfectly fine. Instead, it felt as if none of those in front of or behind the camera knew how to wrap things up.
It’s too bad because Pat Healy gives a great performance and there are some really twisted moments of horror throughout WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING. I understand not showing the horror is often more effective and WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING does this well. But not showing the ending is almost always unsatisfying and unfortunately the film does that too.