Welcome to the Blumhouse: The Lie review
James R | On 06, Oct 2020
How far would you go to help your child? That’s the question at the heart of The Lie, Veena Sud’s psychological thriller that starts from a place of love and concern, and ends up in stomach-churning territory – not always in a good way.
We first meet Kayla (Joey King) – the child in question – as she’s dropped off by her mum, Rebecca (Mireille Enos), so that estranged dad Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) can drive her to a dance retreat. Along the way, they’re joined by her friend, Brittany (Devery Jacobs), and it’s immediately clear that’s something’s brewing – Kayla strops and sulks as Brittany flirts with Jay. The prickly awkwardness escalates until the pair disappear together into the snowy woods by the side of the road and, just minutes later, Jay stumbles upon Kayla by herself.
What’s happened to Brittany? That’s the shocking discovery that propels Jay into action, and we’re soon watching through our fingers as he and Rebecca move heaven and earth to help their daughter. Sarsgaard and Enos are excellent at selling the horror and queasy dismay of realising what Kayla is capable of – and they’re equally excellent at squirming their way through what they’re willing to do in return, before stopping to look back, aghast, at their own actions.
That’s the experience we all go through watching The Lie, as Sud’s script – based on German thriller Wir Monster – takes increasingly absurd and unbelievable turns. What starts out as one lie grows into another entirely, but it does so at such a pace and with such chillingly frost visuals that it’s only when you pause for a second you realise how illogical everyone’s behaviour is. At the heart of this tale of privileged, presumptuous parents is Joey King, of The Kissing Booth and The Act, who is clearly enjoying herself in a complex role, and it’s testament to this central trio of performances that it’s only the final moments that risk undoing all of their good work. Sud swiftly turns the screw with a fine line in maintaining tension with clockwork precision – even if there is the odd screw loose.
The Lie (2018) is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.