You’ll Never Find Me

A red-haired, bearded man sits in a trailer home, a bottle of whisky on the table in front of him, a vial of clear liquid in his hand, a woman lamenting about love on the radio.  Suddenly two things seem to occur at once – a violent storm kicks up and someone bangs loudly on the man’s door.  He’s not welcoming, but the knocking persists and when he opens the door a drenched woman with bare feet is allowed inside in “You’ll Never Find Me.”

Laura's Review: B-

The feature directorial debuts of Josiah Allen and writer Indianna Bell exhibit real ingenuity in how to create an unsettling thriller with just one location and two actors.  With dueling unreliable narrators cycling through brief periods of camaraderie alternating with distrust, the film creates great tension, allowing it to slacken then clenching us in its grip again.  In addition to the narrative, each and every technical element of the film, from its design by Hannah Sitters to Maxx Corkindale’s cinematography and Duncan Campbell’s sound contribute to a feeling of unease.

Although he complains about trailer park kids banging on his door and shifty neighbors fearful of police, Patrick (Brendan Rock) appears hospitable enough, offering a drink, dry clothes, a hot shower and soup to the stranger who, we will learn, has arrived at 2 a.m.  But he also has an obstacle for every course of action his visitor (Jordan Cowan) wishes to take – his car is acting up and the only phone is a distant pay phone.  Even access to the area is an issue, a gate to the trailer park locked.  But little about the stranger in his house makes much sense either, beginning with the fact that she’s wearing no shoes and claims to have run to his home from the beach.

Conversation reveals that they are both unemployed and unattached.  Until conversation begins to uncover lies seemingly told earlier, the stranger’s story changing dramatically as Patrick begins to notice things about her that tug at his memory.  Both have visions of blood that turn out to be hallucinations.  As the storm rages on, the trailer shifts and moans, Corkindale’s camera frequently panning along the ceiling as if it might collapse.  A sudden blackout ups the ante, the two working in unison to restore light, flashes of which seem to expose things.  And then there’s that curtain at the end of Patrick’s trailer, a room unrevealed.

Rock’s quiet, philosophical musings are at odds with Cowan’s eyes darting about his space, the two actors working in concert to unsettle.  But while we can begin to guess just what’s going on here, the filmmakers’ climactic reveal is so overblown, it blunts the impact of what has come before.  Still, these filmmakers have larded their narrative with clues so subtly (one innocent line of dialogue in the film’s first half takes a very macabre turn with knowledgeable reflection) they leave us high hopes for their future endeavors.

Robin's Review: C+

"You'll Never Find Me" begins streaming on Shudder on 3/22/24.