Don’t Tell a Soul follows Matt (Fionn Whitehead of Black Mirror ) and Joey (Jack Dylan Grazer of IT) who commit a bit of breaking and entering to help their mother (Mena Suvari of American Horror Story) with her medical bills. What starts out as a quick felony gets complicated when a security officer named Hamby (Rainn Wilson of The Meg) chases the boys, but falls into a well from which he is unable to escape. While Matt insists that they leave Hamby to be someone else’s problem, Joey is unable to turn away. In his attempt to save Hamby, Joey places himself at the intersection between a man who could get him arrested and his conscious.
I was blown away by Don’t Tell a Soul,. Wow, the plot is fantastic. From start to finish, I was white knuckling my chair, unable to look away. And the twists and turns along the way are totally unexpected. Once you think you have a handle on the story, it knocks the wind out of you. The story arcs in a natural, terrifying way that parallels the complicated tribulations of grief, anger, and the aftermath of choices each of the characters made.
The acting in this film is out of this world. Matt, as a character, is a true agent of chaos and dread. He constantly places Joey in situations forcing him to decide between what is logical and what is moral. The tension he brings elevates the horror elements, especially considering how closely he resembles real life examples of abusive, manipulative family members. Each of the main four actors showcase a brilliant performance and their characters are authentic representations of the complicated nature of human beings and the choices we make. Each character reaps what they sow and this manifests in several different ways.
The ending is likely to leave a sour taste in your mouth, I sat in silence for a couple minutes just whispering wow when the film was over. At first I was a little angry at the lighter turn, but honestly, there is no lighter turn, the characters are left to deal with the aftermath and that is heavy. The entire film is beautifully shot in monochromatic tones and dreary pops of color to add to the misery of how the characters are feeling. Each choice made throughout the filmmaking showcases the talent of Alex McAulay and I could hardly belief that this is McAulay’s directional debut.
My only critique is there is no elaboration or exploration on Hamby. The teases we get are tantalizing but I would have preferred a fleshed out backstory. Even the mother, whose appearance is short, has effective dialogue that paints a broad picture which reveals the person underneath the robe wasting away on the sofa watching the news.
Don’t Tell a Soul is a fantastic film and I would suggest making haste to check it out.
WICKED RATING: 10/10
Director(s): Alex McAulay
Writer(s): Alex McAulay
Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mena Suvari, Rainn Wilson
Release: On DVD and Blu-ray March 16, 2021 (Available On Demand now)
Studio/ Production Co: Lionsgate
Length: 96 Minutes