Behind You (2020) – movie review

Behind You. Image credit: Courtesy of RogerEbert.com Behind You. Image credit: Courtesy of RogerEbert.com

Written and directed by Andrew Mecham & Matthew Whedon, in their first attempt at a feature-length movie, Behind You is a supernatural horror film about the subject of possession and exorcism.

Available on digital since April 17th, this is a movie I didn’t have any expectations for: the directors didn’t do anything before (so, of course, there was no point of reference), and the trailer looked suitably creepy, but also quite formulaic and dull.

Continue reading and find my final grade below…


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My review is also available on IMDb – Behind You (2020)

Check out the official list of 2020 horror films I’ve watched

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Behind You – plot and sequence of events

Two young sisters, Claire and Olivia, move to their aunt’s house, where they find out that all the mirrors are either covered or hidden. When one of them happens upon a mirror in the basement, strange events start occurring: through the mirrors, some sort of malicious entity tries to communicate with her, until the little girl lets it out and mayhem ensues.

Does this plot sound vaguely familiar? That’s because Behind You follows the same formula and storyline of most 2010s possession horror flicks to a T. In the opening scene something scary happens; a few years later, the same strange occurrences seem to be happening to a different set of characters, which are related to the ones in the opening; the little girl trusts a clearly malevolent spirit and unleashes it; there’s an attempt to exorcise the girl; everything seems to work out just fine, but did it really? And so on, and so forth. Story-wise, Behind You has almost nothing new to offer to such a played-out sub-genre.

Peanut butter exorcism

Without spoiling any detail (in case, for some reason, you decide to watch this movie), the only novelty in Behind You is represented by an attempted exorcism ritual that relies on peanut butter to work. Holy water and rosary are too mainstream nowadays, which is why peanut butter should be used against demons more often! Did you not know that?

Jokes aside, this idiotic sequence was the only interesting part of the movie, just because it was hilariously nonsensical and stupid. The rest of Behind You is formulaic, uninspired and dull. If you’ve seen movies like The Possession of Hannah Grace, The Haunting of Molly Hartley or The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund, The Nun or one of the Annabelle movies, you basically watched Behind You already, as this movie is nothing more than a mishmash of elements we’ve seen over and over in countless possession flicks.

More clichés, lower budget

The aforementioned movies (some of them, at least) are mediocre and unimaginative, but they appeal to many people due to high production values, which makes them watchable even if the story is boring and the filmmaking is barely acceptable. Behind You is an indie horror flick, though, which means less production values, worse acting, more noticeable clichés and more annoying stock sounds to enhance fake or cheap jump-scares. As a result, Behind You feels like a way below the bar horror movie that offers the bare minimum in terms of “entertainment” and “scares”.

This begs the question: why even making this movie? As independent filmmakers (and, also, producers), Mecham and Whedon had absolute creative control, with no big studio trying to sneak in clichés to appeal to the masses: they could’ve done everything they wanted and provided the audience with something worthwhile. Instead, they decided to double down on the tropes and make a worse version of the average, mainstream horror flick. What’s the point?

Conclusions

Obviously I’ve been very negative so far, as Behind You barely offers anything of quality from a critical standpoint and didn’t feature any enjoyable on a personal level either. That said, and trying to be as detached and objective as I possibly can, this isn’t a complete disaster, considering both filmmakers had no prior experience.

Aside from some of the child performances and the peanut butter scene, every other element in the movie is serviceable if not simplistic and dull. A couple of jump-scares were mildly effective – if you like that kind of thing – and some sequences had a decent visual flair to them. If you like average, middle-of-the-road supernatural horror flicks, you might like Behind You. If those movies annoy you like they annoy me, then skip it altogether.

Rating 4

If you like average possession flicks, here’s a few above average ones you can buy: 

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