Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A young graffiti artist discovers a shocking secret that would put him and the ones closest to him in danger.
Review: I love a good thriller but throw in a great cat and mouse between predator and prey and I’m instantly hooked. Netflix’s I Came By takes this trope and tries to up the ante by having this particular predator face-off with more than one opponent. But does that make it better than the rest?
George MacKay (1917, Marrowbone) plays Toby, a young graffiti artist who targets the rich elites in his city by breaking into their homes and “tagging” their walls with his calling card, the words “I Came By”. He does this with the help of his best friend Jay (Percelle Ascott from Doctor Who, The Dare) as this is their way of fighting against the injustices of their world. But when Jay’s girlfriend gets pregnant and he no longer wishes to tag houses Toby decides to take on their latest target on his own, a retired judge who is highly respected and well connected. All goes well until Toby discovers that Sir Hector Blake, played by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), has dark secrets hidden in his basement and will go to any lengths to keep them there.
For the most part, Netflix has a strong track record when it comes to the thriller genre and anyone who says differently you just have to turn to them and say the words “Squid Game”. All kidding aside, I went into this one with high hopes especially considering some of the talent involved here. Hugh Bonneville is mostly known as the loving and endearing patriarch of Downton Abbey but I’ve found when you take actors who are known for playing “nice guys” and put them in twisted roles, you usually get something chillingly spectacular, and his performance definitely works as the strongest aspect of the movie. Then there’s the man behind the lens, director Babak Anvari who delivered one of my favorite foreign language horror movies ever, Under the Shadow. He understands how effective quiet moments can be in a thriller and I Came By has a feeling of unease through most of its runtime as well as a great use of lighting and space.
Where this movie falls short is in the redundancy of the plot and the runtime. MILD SPOILERS ahead folks. The reveal that Sir Hector Blake isn’t who he appears to be is a predictable one, yet I have to give them points for subverting SOME of my expectations when it came to his motives. That said, very early on we get a moment right out of Alfred Hitchcock’s playbook which leads to a change that most watching would find unexpected. Then they do it again! Once was fine but doing it again didn’t make this movie smarter, it made it feel MUCH longer than its almost two-hour runtime. Personally, I think two hours for a movie such as this is 20 minutes too long but maybe if the tension was consistent it would’ve worked. Not to mention the finale (as long as it took to get to) felt rushed and unsatisfying.
I Came By isn’t a terrible thriller but it’s middle of the road at best. Themes of societal prejudices such as race and class are fine but as a plot device here felt weak at best and forced at worst (The People Under the Stairs did it better). That said, if you want to see Hugh Bonneville like you’ve never seen him before then feel free to drop on by for I Came By. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Score: 5 out of 10
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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.
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