Horror

Trauma Makes Noise in ‘Somewhere Quiet’ [Tribeca 2023 Review]


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Somewhere Quiet

Writer/director Olivia West Lloyd’s Somewhere Quiet, which had its world premiere in the US Narrative Competition of this year’s Tribeca Festival, posits an interesting question. In Lloyd’s own words, what happens to the final girl after the credits roll? Jennifer Kim’s Meg Rhoads recently escaped from a torturous and extended kidnapping. Her husband Scott Whitman (Kentucker Audley) has opted to help her cope by bringing her along to his family’s wooded compound in Cape Cod. Meg unravels during her stay, bringing to light hidden secrets and nightmarish truths. Tension is augmented by the arrival of Marin Ireland’s Cousin Madeline. Ireland, a familiar genre face, is always a welcome presence. Alongside a sensational turn from Jennifer Kim, Somewhere Quiet captivates, even if its spell has been cast dozens of times before.

Ariel Marx’s discordant, thrumming score cues the audience into something sinister, even if Lloyd’s tricks are pulled directly from the “Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss” bag of horror tropes. Meg’s grip on reality is fractured, punctuated by nightmarish visions and a distorted sense of time and place. Memories are often recontextualized via dialogue moments after they happen, calling into question whether Meg’s paranoia is genuine or the product of her trauma.

Also Read: ‘Brooklyn 45’ Review: A Haunting and Heartbreaking Chamberpiece

With Lloyd’s distinct point-of-view and Kim’s ferocious, visceral portrait of post-traumatic stress, Somewhere Quiet sidesteps most trauma-centric horror cliches even as it travels down a well-trod path, paying homage to the likes of Get Out and Rosemary’s Baby without the thematic heft or urgency of either. Despite strong performances, Somewhere Quiet regularly flatlines, shifting dissonantly from beat to beat without arriving at anything of note. Narrative arcs are linear, with the central trio of Meg, Scott, and Madeline being no different at the end than audiences presumed they were at their introduction.

Individual beats hint at purposeful coalescence, including an all too brief foray into the Whitman family’s troubled family history with missionary work in South Korea. Yet, too often, those most compelling beats are eschewed for conventional psychodrama. Kim’s perception ostensibly can’t be trusted, but her journey to self-discovery and recognition is never as compelling as the miniature conflicts that orbit it.

Also Read: ‘Killer Kites’ Review: Dumb as a Box of Rocks But Surprisingly Enjoyable

Kim and Ireland especially elevate their respective scenes with simmering tension and muted motives, even if the movie around them is far less interested in what they can do. Eventually, Somewhere Quiet endeavors to have something to say about wealth, privilege, and trauma, though it’s muddled by the incongruous nature of the individual beats that came before.

Olivia West Lloyd’s Somewhere Quiet lands firmly in the middle. Not quite horror, there are some nightmarish jolts sure to engage audiences. Kim’s powerhouse performance as a woman on the brink mandates viewing, even if Somewhere Quiet stays true to its title. Where other psychological thrillers raise their voice, Somewhere Quiet maintains a steady whisper. It’s tempting enough to lean in to hear, though some might walk away wondering what all the noise was about, to begin with.

Summary

Somewhere Quiet is a promising debut from Olivia West Lloyd even if it’s regularly constrained by the horror convention of today.

Tags: Featured Post Somewhere Quiet Tribeca 2023

Categorized: Movie Reviews

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