3 January 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
Blurring life and death
While not exactly being a fan of Bella Thorne (can't stand 'Shake It Up' for example), it was the concept that had me sold on watching 'I Still See You'. A concept that was among the cleverest and most imaginative, and one of the most ambitious, ones for any film seen recently and really had me intrigued. Even the advertising grabbed the attention and did hear good things about it, so the potential was certainly there and it was not exactly small.
'I Still See You' however could have done quite a lot more with this concept. It is not a bad film and it is not a complete waste of the potential it had, but there was a big deal of room for improvment and the potential is far from fullfilled. It also struck me after watching that the concept would have lended itself better to a mini-series and that it was too ambitious for a feature film. It really does annoy me somewhat when a film like 'I Still See You' has such an intriguing and ambitious concept, that could have been done very imaginatively, but executes it in a too ordinary, mundane and muddled way. Far from being one of the worst cases sure and there are flashes of greatness, but a concept as good as this deserved a much better film.
There are good things here in 'I Still See You'. It actually looks quite professional visually, the photography is slick, the moodiness of the lighting fits the atmosphere beautifully and the effects are surprisingly polished and like time and care went into constructing them (even if they weren't what one would call special). The moody atmosphere is reflected very effectively in the score, which doesn't overbear what's going on and doesn't sound cheap or inappropriate, the placement never questionable.
Direction is competent and the acting is well above average and while not award-worthy it's acceptable. Bella Thorne surprisingly carries 'I Still See You' more than capably, was expecting her to be too lightweight and out of place but she was neither. Dermot Mulroney is up to her level and their chemistry works. 'I Still See You' also started off very promisingly indeed, with the imagination, suspense and intrigue present.
So it is sad that the second half is nowhere near as good. 'I Still See You' comes rather mundane and one loses interest. The dialogue can be very cheesy, of the difficult to take seriously kind which jars when the film itself is quite serious. There are a lot of predictable moments and there are parts that are of pure stupidity.
Am now going to elaborate on my opinion of the concept lending itself better to a mini-series. There are too many ideas, all great but never given the chance to be fully explored, and the film tries to be too much all at once which creates a tonal muddle which really confuses the story. 'I Still See You' becomes convoluted and cluttered, and the mundane feeling comes from the pace slackening (think the makers realised how much they were trying to pack in and tried to slow down to accomodate) and the suspense and imagination becoming lost under the over-ambition. The characters never fully develop either and are basically flimsy cliches no matter how decently acted they are. Then there is the somewhat hasty ending which leaves too many unanswered questions and loose ends and leaves the viewer crying what in frustration, a twist is also attempted but it felt rushed and didn't ring true. All of this giving off the sense that the film is too short.
Overall, great idea with very average execution. 5/10 Bethany Cox