Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions is partnering with Amazon Prime Video for an anthology series of eight films, collectively called “Welcome to the Blumhouse.” The first four films are scheduled to hit the streaming service this month; two of the films drop this week, and two more drop next week. The first of two films in the anthology series, The Lie, premieres on October 6, and it is a mixed bag of emotions, though I would be hard pressed to call this “horror.”
The Lie stars Joey King as 15-year-old Kayla, a young girl who has watched her happy life crumble with the divorce of her parents, Rebecca (Mireille Enos) and Jay (Peter Sarsgaard). She’s moody, irresponsible, and at times infuriating — in other words, she’s a teenager.
The film opens with father Jay taking Kayla to a weekend ballet retreat when they come across her friend, Brittany (Devery Jacobs) at a bus stop on her way to the same retreat. Jay picks up the other teen and is shortly asked to stop in the middle of nowhere so the girl can relieve herself.
Time passes and the girls don’t return, so Jay tracks them down in the cold, snowy woods, only to find Kayla alone on a bridge over a raging river. Kayla admits that she pushed her friend into the water, and this begins a long descent into a hole of lies and deceit that will drag all the major players through wringer after wringer.
Jay and Rebecca decide that their daughter is a good kid, even though she just committed cold-blooded murder, and go into overdrive to protect her from any kind of justice. This is when The Lie becomes an infuriating exercise in terrible parenting from top to bottom, and it really highlights the faults of our society where children are worshipped at all costs.
The lengths this fractured family will go to protect a murderer is astounding, and instead of being thrilled or horrified, I was angry. Enraged. I found myself rooting for the cops so that someone would get punished for all this nonsense.
The Lie is based off a 2015 German film called Wir Monster (We Monsters), and that title is more apropos, as this familial trio are nothing but monsters.
Writer-director Veena Sud (The Salton Sea, TV’s The Killing) adapts the original film’s script by Sebastian Ko and Marcus Seibert, and she doesn’t pull any of the punches of that original story. As a director, she creates a cold, desolate world that mirrors what the viewer will in their souls feel while watching.
The Lie is superbly acted by the cast, highlighted by Joey King’s very punchable Kayla. I would never condone violence against a child, or a female, but as I’ve said — this person is a veritable monster. Sarsgaard and Enos match King’s menace, note for note, and their actions should never be relatable to anyone. If you are a parent reading this and saying to yourself, “I would do the same thing for my daughter,” well guess what, you are a monster too.
The Lie is an excruciating exercise in bad parenting, and while I wouldn’t consider this a horror film, something Blumhouse does very well, I am terrified that there might actually be people like this family in the world. And that’s the scariest thing of all.
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