February 13, 2022
by Carla Hay
Directed by Randall Okita
Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed part of upstate New York, the horror film “See for Me” features a nearly all-white cast of characters (with two multiracial people) representing the middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A young blind woman, who has been hired to housesit a stranger’s home, has to fight off home invaders who broken into the home to steal valuable items.
Culture Audience: “See for Me” will appeal mainly to people who are interested in tension-filled thrillers with a simple concept.
“See for Me” is a well-paced thriller with just enough suspense and good acting that outweigh some of the movie’s hard-to-believe moments and plot holes. If you can believe that a blind person has capably to fend off burglars while housesitting alone in a home she’s never been in before, then you’ll be up for the edge-of-your-seat ride in “See for Me.” The movie is a good example of how to make the most out of a low budget and a small number of cast members.
Directed by Randall Okita, “See for Me” was written by Adam Yorke and Tommy Gushue. The movie takes place in an unnamed part of upstate New York, but was actually filmed in the Canadian province of Ontario. It’s one of those “isolated in a remote area” horror movies, in order to explain why it takes to so long for help to arrive. There’s also the drawback of the place being engulfed in snow, thereby making it harder to get to the home and harder to escape on foot.
Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, there are a few things that viewers find out about “See for Me” protagonist Sophie Scott (played by Skyler Davenport), who is in her early 20s: She was an aspiring Olympic skier, but her skiing career took a detour when she became blind from a skiing accident. Since then, Sophie has become a bitter and unsure of what she wants to do with her life. Sophie speaks in short, clipped, impatient tones, as if the person she’s speaking to easily gets on her nerves.
Sophie lives with her single mother (played by Natalie Brown), who doesn’t have a name in the movie. In the movie’s opening scene, Sophie’s mother is watching a skiing competition on TV. Sophie tells her mother in an irritated tone of voice to turn off the TV. Obviously, Sophie doesn’t want to hear about other skiers doing what Sophie wishes she could do when she had the ability to see.
Sophie has called a taxi to take her to housesitting job to a large home that she’ll be visiting for the first time. She’s expected to stay for a few days while the owner is out of town. Sophie doesn’t tell her mother about this job until the taxi arrives. Sophie’s mother is a little suspicious and concerned, because she notices that Sophie has been making large deposits to Sophie’s bank account in monetary amounts that are too large for a housesitting job.
When Sophie’s mother tactfully asks if Sophie is working as an escort or if she has a “sugar daddy,” Sophie gets offended and denies it. Sophie tells her mother that the large payments are tips that she gets from the wealthy people who hire her for these housesitting jobs. The housesitting job that Sophie is going to for a few days is for one of these rich clients.
The client’s name is Debra (played by Laura Vandervoort), who meets Sophie for the first time in person when Sophie arrives for the housesitting job. Debra, who seems to be in her 30s, lives in a house that looks like an upscale, modern lodge. The house is in a very isolated, wooded area. The nearest neighbor is an untold number of miles away.
Debra is polite but is very eager to get out of the house. She mentions to Sophie that she’s recently signed final divorce papers, and she’s ready to go on a getaway vacation after this difficult divorce. Debra says of her ex-husband: “I married for maturity and money. Turns out he has neither.” Debra’s ex-husband Rico (played by Kim Coates) is seen later in the movie.
Sophie’s housesitting duties for Debra are very simple: She has to feed Debra’s cat Archie and make sure nothing goes wrong in the house. Soon after arriving at the house, Sophie checks a voice mail message from her mother, who tells her about a new app called See for Me, which has live telephone operators standing by to help blind people in emergencies. Sophie doesn’t want to talk to mother, but she downloads the See for Me App.
And how does a blind person housesit in a place visited for the first time? Sophie enlists the help of her friend Cam (played by Keaton Kaplan), by doing a videochat with him on her phone, and walking around the house while Cam describes to Sophie what he sees. Sophie also has a walking stick to help her navigate. Through this process, Sophie gets descriptions of each room in the house. She finds out that the house includes a solarium-styled greenhouse and a wine cellar.
The wine cellar is what interests Sophie the most, because it’s revealed in the movie that she and Cam have been stealing high-priced wine during these housesitting jobs and selling the wine on the Internet. They’ve been careful to take only one or two bottles per house, so the owners won’t notice anything missing right away. And that’s why Sophie has been making large deposits to her bank account after these housesitting jobs.
However, Cam tells Sophie that he no longer wants to be involved in these thefts. Sophie gets angry and tries to convince Cam to help her. This arguing continues, but Sophie will soon have a much bigger problem to deal with during this housesitting job.
First, Sophie accidentally locks herself out of the house. Because the keys are inside, and she doesn’t want to call 911, Sophie decides to try the See for Me app to find out if anyone there can help. Sophie is connected with an operator named Kelly (played by Jessica Parker Kennedy), who’s in her 30s. Kelly works from home, but See for Me calls can be routed to her phone.
Sophie is prickly and rude when she first interacts with Kelly. Sophie quickly explains the situation and tells Kelly that she wants to find a way to break into the house. Because Sophie adamantly refuses to call 911, she asks for Kelly’s help in finding a door a window where she can re-enter the house. Based on Sophie’s previous interactions with her mother (Sophie refused her mother’s help in putting her overnight luggage in the taxi), Sophie is ultra-sensitive about her blindness and wants people to think she’s as self-sufficient as possible.
Kelly is a little suspicious about Sophie’s request to find a way to break into the house, because Kelly has no way of knowing if Sophie is a burglar or not. Kelly says half-jokingly to Sophie, “Am I an accessory to a B & E [breaking and entering]? I’ve done worse.” This remark breaks the ice and helps establish a rapport between Sophie and Kelly.
With Kelly’s help, Sophie finds a way to get back in the house through a sliding glass door. Sophie is relieved and grateful for Kelly’s help. Kelly says that Sophie can ask for her if Sophie ever needs to use the See for Me app again. And you know what that means in this type of movie.
During Sophie’s first night in the house, three armed burglars break in because they want something from a giant safe that’s in the house. This trio of burglars consists of a trigger-happy sleaze named Otis (played by George Tchortov), who is the group leader; restless Ernie (played by Pascal Langdale); and mild-mannered Dave (played by Joe Pingue), who’s the one in the group who knows the most about breaking into safes. The rest of the movie is a high-stakes battle where Sophie tries to avoid getting killed when the burglars discover that she’s in the house with them.
As shown in the movie’s trailer, Sophie contacts Kelly again for help, and a cop named Deputy Brooks (played by Emily Piggford) shows up at the crime scene. The cast members give capable and believable performances, which are anchored by the teamwork that Davenport and Kennedy have to show as Sophie and Kelly. “See for Me” stretches some credibility in the last third of the movie. But overall, it delivers when it comes to a simple but effective story about a home invasion with an unusual against-all-odds protagonist.
IFC Films/IFC Midnight released “See for Me” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on January 7, 2022. Shudder will premiere the movie on April 7, 2022. “See for Me” is set for release on Blu-ray and DVD on June 28, 2022.