‘You’ll Never Find Me’ review: A tense cat-and-mouse horror that keeps you guessing from Mashable

It’s not easy to make an effective film in just one location with a tiny cast, but — as sci-fi/horror Monolith showed us recently — it can be done. You’ll Never Find Me, which follows two strangers sheltering in a trailer from an unrelenting storm, is yet further proof.

Writer/director Indianna Bell and co-director Josiah Allen’s tightly plotted movie is a masterclass in tension, trapping us in a dingy room with its troubled leads and ratcheting up the suspense with lingering close-ups, oppressive sound design, and a script that keeps you guessing until the final moments.

What’s You’ll Never Find Me about?

On the surface, the plot feels like well-worn horror territory. Bearded loner Patrick (a growly and impressive Brendan Rock) is sitting in his trailer in the middle of the night when there’s a heavy knock on the door. He answers, squinting against the lashing rain and wind, and is greeted by a young woman (a wonderfully mysterious Jordan Cowan) asking for help.

Sounds a bit like Knock Knock or The Strangers, right? Well, it isn’t. You’ll Never Find Me is very much its own beast. Rather than making its threat clear from the outset, the film constantly keeps us guessing with a smart, sparse script that plays with power dynamics. Is Patrick a predator, doing everything he can to make sure his guest can’t leave? Or is the young woman on his doorstep more than she seems? You’ll think you know the answer, but you won’t know for certain until the final scenes.

And in the background, meanwhile, the storm rages, making the cabin groan and creak as though something else wants to get inside. Is it possible both the leads are at risk from an unseen presence?

Who is Patrick’s visitor?
Credit: Shudder

You’ll Never Find Me does an amazing job of keeping you guessing.

The ever-shifting power balance is probably the movie’s greatest strength. There’s the sense that Patrick and his visitor are constantly circling and probing at each other, taking turns in moments of vulnerability. On the one hand, Patrick feels innately threatening: he never smiles, he growls out every word, and his insistence that his guest take a shower and wait for the storm to pass makes for uncomfortable viewing.

On the other hand, the stranger in his trailer carries her own hard-to-define threat. Why does her story shift and change all the time? Why does Patrick feel like he recognises her from somewhere? With these two characters, the filmmakers constantly play games with the audience’s assumptions of gender power dynamics to amplify the uncertainty.

Every element of Allen and Bell’s film-making complements this core tension. The previously mentioned sound design is forever ratcheting away in the background, punctuating strange comments with uneasy string music while the storm-battered trailer creaks and groans like a threat. The direction, meanwhile, is filled with uncomfortable close-ups — hard-to-read facial expressions and objects that appear to be significant, even if it’s not always clear why. Bell’s script too is brilliant, the dialogue laced with unease and ambiguity.

“If they lock the campsite at night, how did I get in?” the strange woman asks at one point, responding to one of Patrick’s many reasons why she won’t be able to leave just yet.

“I was about to ask you the same question,” comes the reply.

Is Patrick a threat, or just lonely?
Credit: Shudder

Are there any weaknesses?

Honestly, not many. All of Bell and Allen’s hard work could have been undone if the casting wasn’t right, but fortunately Rock and Cowan are perfect in their roles, leaning into Bell’s ominous dialogue while playing their cards close to their chests (incidentally there is also a card playing scene in the film, which was probably one of my favourite moments).

The ending is often where horror comes undone, and you could argue there’s a little too much ending in You’ll Never Find Me. The twists and reveals are great, but I felt like it could perhaps have been five minutes shorter than it was.

But still, that’s only a niggle. The movie does exactly what it sets out to: puts us on edge, keeps us uneasy, keeps us gripped. “‘It’s nice to pass the time with a stranger,” rasps Patrick at one point during the aforementioned card scene. But by the time You’ll Never Find Me is finished, it’s pretty much the last thing you’ll want to do.

How to watch: You’ll Never Find Me is in select theatres from March 16, and streaming on Shudder from March 22.

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