Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Two teenage brothers who have been stealing money to help their sick mom match wits with a troubled security guard stuck at the bottom of a forgotten well.
Review: It’s very telling that one of this movie’s main characters is a bully because the story itself feels like a metaphor for these jerks.
This film has a mean streak a mile long, a dark and twisted sense of humour, and the ability to be frightful. Yet once you’ve faced it down, you realise it’s all bark and no bite.
I may have gone off course a bit there, but Don’t Tell a Soul starts off quite promising, with what you think is a straightforward enough story — two brothers, meek and fearful Joey (Jack Dylan Grazer of It Chapters 1 & 2) and Matt, who has a cartoonish mean streak, (Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk) live with their ailing mom (Mena Suvari of American Pie). Matt forces Joey to break into the house of an old woman and steal ten thousand dollars.
During the crime the duo are spotted by a security guard called Mr Hamby (Rainn Wilson from The Office/Super). Hamby chases them and ends up falling into a deep well. And from this point on things get really interesting.
On the positive side of things, the movie delivers on its dark tones and twisted sense of humour, and does manage to keep the tension and the pacing lean and tight.
This thriller wastes no time getting started and with Matt’s unhinged behaviour and Joey’s almost unbelievable level of naiveté (Grazer does a good job of selling it though) you the viewer are never quite sure where things are heading. You see, Joey feels guilty for leaving Mr Hamby down in the hole and strikes up a “friendship” with the man. Needless to say when Matt finds out things go from bad to worse. And this is where the film truly shines — when it revels in the dark comedic tones of its screenplay.
Where it dropped the ball for me was in the final act. It almost went there, but it felt like writer/director Alex McAulay (this is his film debut) chickened out, and what could’ve been a truly dark and shocking turn of events devolves into a Disney movie. Maybe other people will like this ending, but I personally felt certain characters didn’t earn the arcs given to them here, so this finale let me down.
All in all, Don’t Tell a Soul is a fun, twisted little thriller that does manage to entertain and even touch on the real life emotional trauma of growing up in an abusive household, or with an ailing parent where the kids are forced to “adult” way ahead of schedule. The sibling rivalry stuff leans heavily towards the incredulous, but overall the solid performances and tight pacing do a lot to make this an entertaining ride.
Sommer’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!