Demonic films, in which the family is at the centre of attention, are supposed to create a sense of drama. When directors create family characters and present them in a light that allows us to communicate with them, we begin to worry when they are threatened by evil forces. We have seen films that explore the dynamics of the family through the story of obsession. Some offer a unique perspective that encourages us to defend the survival of the possessed victim and her family. Behind Behind You (Andrew Meecham and Matthew Whedon’s first feature film) wants to achieve this, but fails because of the weak writing style and the general lack of horror.
The film tells the story of two sisters, Olivia (Addy Miller) and Claire (Elizabeth Birkner), who moved in with Aunt Beth (Ian Broberg) after the death of their mother. Soon the girls will learn about the dark past that haunts Beth, as well as the devilish presence that lives in the mirrors of the house. If a demon has an interest in owning Claire, the family must work with Beth’s old friend, Charles (Philip Brody), to defeat him.
As for the positive aspects of the film, there are interesting moments with special effects. Small signs of personality change in Claire (such as widening of the eyes) are a hint of freshness. The film also contains some moments of tension. And on a technical level, the cinema will be preserved.
Where behind you show that the problems lie in his writing (and to some extent in his actions). Overall, most of the dialogue in the film is embarrassing to convey its seriousness; many lines are conveyed without any feeling or simply with stupidity. We can say that the actors give the best of themselves according to the scenario, even though some of them are a little limited.
Beth and Charles are useful for the story (although Beth can be a small success or failure when it comes to serious problems). Olivia and Claire are the weakest characters. Which is ironic when you know that they are the main characters that the film wants you to feel.
Claire and Olivia are both very superficial when it comes to acting and personality. Neither has ever evolved in a unique way, Claire was only predestined to be present as a quiet child with a stuffed animal that was ultimately possessed. A small effort was made to make it clear that she was grieving for her deceased mother, but this was compromised for some time and then largely rejected. There’s never really a way to capture his pain. The same lack of communication is also a problem for Olivia. Despite the fact that she has become more active in the film since then, she starts to become super boring and passive. When it comes to Olivia and Claire, we never have a clearer idea of who these girls are; we never have a clearer idea of their past or their personality.
At certain points in the film we see a mixture of secrecy and deception of Beth and Carl about their intention to negotiate with a demon. With this approach Behind You offers a fascinating family dynamic. But if he chooses sentimentality, he is not confronted with all this sincerity. We have a moment with Charles, who shows us how to deal with the pain and past of the various characters, but instead the film spends much time ignoring this important research. Here, too, the scenario seems to be the biggest problem. If there had been more depth to develop the characters and give them more personality, we might have had more reason to worry.
But maybe we can forgive the boring characters if there’s some kind of horror? Unfortunately, you don’t have that sign behind you either. Due to the heavy use of horror films (lots of scary music and random opening doors), the film gives little content to its devilish presence. When it comes to telling the story of demonic possession, the story behind you is as general as possible; it takes place in a narrative structure that you and I have seen hundreds of times. We get a vague history of the demon and a brief visual image of its appearance. There’s nothing that really sells the evil nature of a demon because we have no depth. It’s just a demonic force that just wants to do something demonic.
This lack of depth, as well as the poor character of the design, is what hinders the film’s efforts to convey the horror. Because we have no real connection with the characters, no particular reason to worry; because the stories about the devil are so vague that we never have and love to ask questions, and do not occupy ourselves with the plot.
The film is based on the desire to tell the intimate story of a family trying to survive against evil, but in the end this emotional core can’t stand it. Besides some special effects and interesting atmospheric moments, Behind You offers an incredible experience of demonic possession.
You’re in the back on the 17th. April 2020 on the VOD platform.