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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot
With Backstories Elaborated on in an Educated Guess.

House of the Damned

You Should Have Left (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

dad and childThis story involves three monkeys and a monkey wrench. The hear-no-evil monkey is six-year-old Ella (Avery Essex) who's having a night­mare (“Damn it”) involving her (“g.d. it”) lapsed Catholic father who tells her, “Don't curse, Ella, it's a sin.” She's the consummate eaves­dropper whose parents are given to cursing. The bogey­man will lay it out that, “The sins of the fathers come down on the kids.” Duh.

The see-no-evil monkey is Ella's porn star mother Susanna (Amanda Seyfried) whose naked scenes cause her director to do a double-take and her husband to get jealous. These cable scenes are necessarily done off-camera for the sake this merely R-rated movie—Darn! Her husband's suspicions are allayed after he snoops in her phone to find it's all innocent. But then he finds her second phone. Hmm.

The do-no-evil monkey is Ella's rich father Theo Conroy (Kevin Bacon) whose former wife died in a suspicious accident for which Theo was indicted, but his lawyers got him off. He said he didn't do it, but he was crucified in the press. To escape public recognition, he decides to vacation in Wales where his face is unknown, and to take his newer-model wife and their precious daughter with him. Whatever.

house on a hillTheir rental house on a hill is a quaint delight but it becomes haunted by Theo's ex, Caroline, and she is one mad mama—even by ghostly standards. Let me outta here!


Often marriages involve a pair of opposites who must work out compromises. They've got one cut out for them in, (Prov. 30:7) “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:”

(Prov. 30:8-9) “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Theo is rich and retired who “when I was young,” he says, “things came pretty easy for me … and quick: like success, money, stuff like that.” Then, according to his wife, “Catholic school fucked you up good.” Now he doesn't believe in heaven to explain it to his daughter, and he told lies to explain Caroline's death to the police. Bummer.

The production assistant (Joshua C. Jackson) at Susanna's movie shoot tries to give Theo the bum rush when he comes to see her. They're trying to cut cost to survive past season three and won't abide an inter­ruption. To make Theo go away he shouts unnecessarily loud, “ROLLING.” A thief in Bible days who gets caught out will swear in God's name he didn't do it, whence the connection in the proverb.

Susie was not a well known actress. It was Theo's fortune that landed him in the press, not his coming wife's fame. She started out as a hot starlet in back­ward Mexico, there earning a promotion on her back with Max the man with meetings in New York, and now she's in her own series as a spring­board to working in London. It's all movie biz vanity.

cornucopiaThe box of grub they get from a general store in the village provides them “food convenient for me.” No delicacies like olives, but they can survive on it. “It's not poison. It's what we have.”

Caroline could give us a study in, (Prov. 30:33) “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” The butter they got at the store was in a solid cube, but milk came in bottles. It's the churning of the liquid that makes it become solid. Theo doesn't rant and rage like a normal man at his wife's faults, but fumes inwardly. He confesses to, “All those years being so angry, hating her so much, and keeping it inside.” Suddenly, though, he hardens into a “passive-aggressive dick” allowing her to perish in an “accident” he could have saved her from.

Ghost Caroline like some wild banshee wraps him up and vomits on him, but it doesn't make him bleed. Wringing of the nose makes it bleed, but not so much any other part of the body. In the movie Theo strikes the creepy land­lord in the mouth with his own walking stick, knocking out one of his teeth. The mouth has vulnerabilities, too.

The fatal “accident” occurred right after Theo got home from work, or just before in his version. Bestselling author John Gray, Ph.D. tells us:

When a man is recuperating from the demands of his work­day, it is counter­productive to make more demands on him. Until he becomes proficient in the art of listening, trying to converse when he first comes home feels to him like more work, which he will tend to resist. Even if he is eager, his mind will wander to some­thing less demanding like the TV or a magazine. To fight this innate tendency is useless. (68)

overwhelming textSo Theo comes home from work and Caroline starts harping on him … as usual. She takes her meds on top of some wine, then goes to take a bath. When she gets quiet all of a sudden, Theo peeks in to see her passed out in the tub, under­water. He could have pulled her out … but nobody would know. Afterward because of his Catholic guilt he turns to meditation, writing in a journal, and doing an app. Finally he discovers “a simple sanctuary in picturesque Wales.” But that house is as twisted as he is.

The title “You Should Have Left” applies to Caroline most of all. Until she could figure out how to be a better wife, she'd have done well to do a separation.

Production Values

” (2020) was written and directed by David Koepp as adapted from a novel by Daniel Kehl­mann. It went straight to streaming. It stars Kevin Bacon, Amanda Seyfried, and Avery Tiiu Essex. The acting was up to snuff. Seyfried was convincing as a young trophy wife. Bacon did so dramatic­ally well he should be on stage. Essex was a faultless child actor. When she fell out of the tree I wanted to catch her.

MPAA rated it R for some violence, disturbing images, sexual content and language. It included on the sound­track the appropriately themed song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by Mick Jones & Joe Strummer; performed by KT Tun­stall. The internal architecture of the house while disconcerting is not nauseating. I guessed at a lot of the back­story that should be clearer in the book. The country­side of Wales looked especially appealing, but not at night.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Here's a movie that should make one think twice about getting married. I do not recommend it as a date movie when you're about to vacation together. That said, there are relatively few jump scares in it to distract from the developing drama. The skinny on the characters is spelled out in dribbles rather than blatantly. If you're of a slow mind, it just might drift by you. If you're not devoted to movies to begin with, it might seem boring. But in a creepy way. Most of the back­ground characters in the movie seem to have their heads on straight, enough to avoid the principals. It makes an excellent cautionary tale.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, Print.

Gray, John, Ph.D. Mars and Venus In Touch. New York: Harper­Collins, 1st ed. Print.