We may think we know the answer, but in Veena Sud's "The Lie," the length one goes for family is not one easily sided with.
When we - used to - settle into our seats in theaters and surrender attention to a full serving of horror, it was often introduced with a Blumhouse Productions message. The company is responsible for famous titles such as "Insidious," the Academy awarded "Get Out," and, more recently, "The Invisible Man" over the years. Although the company primarily works with darker genres, in "BlacKkKlansman" and "Whiplash" their work in drama has received high recognition as well. Blumhouse and Amazon Studios have partnered for "Welcome to the Blumhouse" an anthological feature series, which begins with 4 titles exclusively streaming on Amazon Prime Video, releasing throughout the Halloween month. The partnership brings together male and female directors from varying backgrounds and puts them all under one roof. Not literally, but the central focus of family carries from one title to the next.
In "The Lie," a child is balanced between two separated parents. It's a less than valiant effort from the two as they're moving through poor communication and leaving their child Kayla (Joey King) caught in the crossfire. Jay and Rebecca, played by Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos, go through intense transformations from start to finish that see the suburban, quiet, once coupled, pair taking gambles and actions like they're cast in an episode of ABC's "How to get Away with Murder," an experience deserving of your couch time.
Immediately after the film's opening, Kayla ignites her family's lives with impulsive decisions and deception when she has killed her best friend and admits it to her father. As the story progresses audiences are witness to an attempt at cooperation between the parents and Kayla, neither understanding what the next step might be, but all in on the fact that the only way through to the end is together. When the friend's father knocks on Kayla's door, he begins to ask questions about his daughter's whereabouts, and the intensity festers within the family and their directives.
Although realism is ditched early on in similar settings, "The Lie" gives an honest account of how twisted seemingly normal families become to protect who they love. For those looking for the action-filled, cunning and lucky getaways from characters, that's an entirely different movie. In hypothetical conversations, some explore the topic of "What would you do if…" and that sums up how the conversations and actions in this movie feel. The characters are no masters of espionage and negotiation, they're a simple family with issues as typical as the people we all know who live with disjointed families. Seeing both Jay and Rebecca react to their situations offer windows into the real mindset one has on either side of the fence of complicity.
Director Veena Sud adapted the material from the 2015 German film "Wir Monsters," but in her remake, she wanted to touch upon anti-Muslim and anti-South Asian sentiment in America. Sud speaks on this portrayal is important to "The Lie," in which she is also credited as a writer. While keeping it realistic and true to life, she changed the race of the neighboring father to South Asian Pakistani to demonstrate the anti-Muslim sentiment that is faced by members of the Muslim community in America. Sud said, "When one is so clearly the victim of a crime, because of the criminal justice system that we live with, and the way race is looked at in this country, who's the victim then becomes perceived as the perpetrator in this country."
"The Lie" is one of four films releasing under the collection title "Welcome to the Blumhouse," yet standalone it is ample material for viewers to latch onto. Bear witness to the integrity and motivation for what's to come, though they are disconnected, the series packs the power to deliver moving stories start to finish in each set.
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