Now Streaming: The Lie (2020) - Reviewed


Part of the new "Welcome to Blumhouse" Amazon series, The Lie is one of the first two feature films to be released as part of the ongoing cinematic horror project.  A remake of the foreign film We, Monsters and directed by Veena Sud (The Killing), this is a glacial morality play that collapses under the weight of its mediocrity.  Featuring a trio of wasted performances, a predictable story, and milquetoast imagery, this is one of the biggest misses of the year. 

Divorced parents Rebecca and Jay are confronted with a nightmare scenario: Their teenage daughter confesses to murdering her friend.  In the aftermath of the revelation, the parents, seeking to protect their child, embark on a series of ill-advised choices leading to a horrific conclusion.  The wonderful Mirielle Enos and Peter Sarsgaard portray Rebecca and Jay.  If there is one redeeming quality to this picture, it is the organic nature by which their relationship evolves over the course of the film.  Their past hardships and current dilemmas are evident in the natural way they embrace and rebuke one another.  Joey King rounds out the trifecta as Kayla, their murderous daughter.  King does an adequate job with the material, keeping the viewer in limbo for the duration.  

The weakness is in the script.  This is a movie that is constantly at odds with itself.  In one instance it is a gripping character study, focusing on impossible moral dilemmas and familial relationship dynamics and in the next, it borders on black comedy as its principles continue to make poor choices over and over to the point of ad nauseum. There are some twists and turns, but given the premise and the remedial way in which events transpire, the conclusion is all but foreseen from the beginning of the first act.  The final result is a boring foray into the lives of a tragically forgettable family.  

Peter Wunstorf’s frigid cinematography captures the icy Canadian environs with a similar sense of stagnation.  Sud’s world is cold, devoid of truth and warmth and this is reflected in washed out visuals that dominate every scene.  Everything appears as a cardboard cut out of what it is representing, and this revelation is what ultimate dooms The Lie.

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, The Lie is best left to the annals of the never ending watchlist.  Most certainly not horror, this is a premise that could have inspired had it doubled down on psychopathic terror or the comedic possibilities.  Instead it opts for a sterile presentation with absurd twists in an effort to contrive emotional connections. 

--Kyle Jonathan