See for Me

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The little secret about thrillers is that audiences will happily overlook implausibility as long as the film executes its premise cleverly. See for Me is a great example of that. When you get right down to it, the plot is relatively absurd, yet the combination of good performances and a willingness to fully indulge in its central gimmick makes it easy to get sucked in. The movie is a fast-paced ride that lets you forget how improbable its events are while you watch it.

Sophie (Skyler Davenport) is a former skiing champion, now blind following an accident. She's a fairly bitter person, speaking rudely to her mother, condescending to a cab driver, and being snippy toward Debra (Laura Vandervoort), the woman whose house she's keeping watch over for a few days. Sophie, we quickly learn, takes gigs housesitting for affluent people, then helps herself to a bottle of their most expensive wine to sell after leaving. Thanks to Davenport's appealing performance, we can tell Sophie's a decent person at heart, she has just developed a screw-it-all attitude and some poor judgement as a result of her inability to pursue her passion any longer.

Not long after arriving, three men break into the home and start drilling into a safe hidden behind the painting on a wall. They quickly realize the place is not vacant. Sophie, unable to see, relies on a cell phone app for the visually-impaired called “See for Me” that connects her to Kelly (Jessica Parker Kennedy). Using the live stream coming from Sophie's phone, Kelly attempts to help her maneuver around the house, and also to strike back when the intruders try to harm her.

That's a pretty cool concept – one that leads to very exciting scenes, especially when our heroine needs help aiming a gun she gets her hands on. Throughout the movie, we fear for Sophie because of how vulnerable she is. At every moment, she's literally putting her life in the hands of a random stranger, hoping that stranger is competent. Similarly, even though Kelly is there to help her, we recognize there's only so much she can do. Adding a layer of tension is the knowledge that, should she fail Sophie, Kelly will feel responsibility. Both women are under extreme pressure, which gives See for Me a pervasive nail-biting quality.

Another element adds to the suspense, although I don't want to spell it out. Let's just say that it entails Sophie deciding she needs to engage with the intruders. This section plays into her character flaws. The fact that a film is willing to have a protagonist who isn't likeable 100% of the time is admirable. She isn't as bad as the guys who broke in, yet she isn't a perfect little angel, either. We care about her anyway because – and again, this is in large part due to Davenport's performance – we sense that Sophie will become a better person if she survives this ordeal. A strong human angle like that gives the thriller components more weight.

See for Me has several pretty big plot holes, the largest of them being that the intruders should theoretically be able to hear Sophie and Kelly talking to one another over the phone – a dead giveaway if ever there was one. Stuff like that aside, this is a fun, exciting movie with two appealing actresses working together (yet apart) to create an original dynamic. It takes hold of you and doesn't let go.

out of four

See for Me is unrated, but contains adult language and violence. The running time is 1 hour and 32 minutes.