The Movie Waffler New Release Review - YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME

New Release Review - YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME
A sinister man receives a visit from a mysterious young woman in the middle of the night.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Josiah Allen, Indianna Bell

Starring: Brendan Rock, Jordan Cowan


Recently the bladder-busting 3.5 hour run time of Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon sparked a debate around just how long a movie needs to be. The question is akin to asking how long is a piece of string. There's no ideal universal run time; a movie simply needs to be as long as it needs to be. Some movies feel rushed and in need of another half hour or so to flesh out their stories, but in the horror genre in recent years I've come across too many feature films that would have been far more impactful as shorts or episodes of anthology shows. Such movies are usually of the type that are centred on delivering an EC comics-esque twist in the tale, with much of what leads up to that climactic twist coming off as unnecessary filler.

That's the case with the Aussie chiller You'll Never Find Me from directors Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell (the latter wrote the script). There's a potentially nail-biting 45 minute thriller here, but the movie fails to sustain its tension for its 96 minutes.

You'll Never Find Me review

It opens with a middle-aged man, Patrick (Brendan Rock), alone in a caravan in the middle of a violent storm. Nursing a vial of liquid in his hands, it seems he's about to take his own life when he's interrupted by a loud knock on his door. Outside is a soaking wet young woman (Jordan Cowan, whose character is credited solely as "The Visitor") who claims she needs a ride home. Patrick claims his car has been acting up, plus the trailer park locks its gates at midnight and it's now 2am. When The Visitor asks if she can make a call, Patrick tells her he doesn't own a phone but he'll take her to the park's phone when the storm dies down.

The nature of both participants is initially thrillingly ambiguous, with the film dangling clues as to their motives only to pull them away just when we've think we've got it all figured out. Simply by way of being a man, Brendan is immediately sinister and we're primed to feel worried for The Visitor. It doesn't help that he makes creepy gestures like insisting the young woman remove her wet shirt so he can dry it on a heater, or that she take a shower. The tomato soup he boils for The Visitor is a worryingly ocre shade. Are we simply victims of a misandrist prejudice in viewing Brendan's offers with suspicion or is he genuinely a threat?

You'll Never Find Me review

Things are muddied by the suspicious behaviour of The Visitor. Her story seems to change every time Brendan quizzes her, and she can't explain how she got into the trailer park despite it being locked up. And after all, she was the one who turned up on Brendan's doorstep. It's not as though she was lured there.

The trouble with this setup is that no matter how many times the film tries to play with our expectations, if you put a big burly middle-aged man in a room with a waifish young woman our fears are always going to lie with the latter. As such, any attempts to make it seem as though Brendan is the one in danger never quite work. That's why the movie is far more effective when it explicitly puts us on the side of The Visitor. There are unnerving sequences as we share the young woman's POV in trying to figure out if her shower is set to be interrupted, if her drink is poisoned, or if the caravan's door is locked.

You'll Never Find Me review

If the dynamic between the two characters never quite works as effectively as the film would like, the blame can't be levelled at Rock or Cowan. Both are excellent in their roles. Rock's quiet manner comes off as either malevolent or sympathetic depending on the strings being pulled by the filmmakers, and while mostly effective as a potential victim, Cowan's performance is subtly offbeat enough to suggest she might not be the innocent party we might assume.

You'll Never Find Me can't quite maintain its tension for its feature length however, and the final twist is both somewhat predictable and logic defying, reliant on one character not being able to put two and two together. It climaxes with a riff on the ending of a certain grindhouse thriller from the early '80s that has been rehashed so often recently that it's become a horror cliché. It's amusing how the '80s movie in question was criticised for its perceived misogyny yet has lately been homaged by several genre thrillers that would like to consider themselves feminist in their leanings.

You'll Never Find Me is on Shudder from March 22nd.

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