The Lie Review

The Lie – Welcome To The Blumhouse
Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) is driving his daughter Kayla (Joey King) to a dance retreat when they happen upon Brittany (Devery Jacobs), Kayla’s friend from school. They offer her a ride, but things go devastatingly awry — and soon, their family is thrown into a cover-up.

by Al Horner |
Published on
Release Date:

06 Oct 2020

Original Title:

The Lie

The Lie, from the Welcome To The Blumhouse horror anthology, isn’t about a lie, singular. It’s about the Jenga tower of mistruths that start to stack up when one lie leads to another, then another, then another, until the whole thing threatens to topple over in catastrophic fashion. Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos are impressive as the parents of a 15-year-old accidental killer, who decide to cover their daughter’s tracks in this tense English-language remake of German thriller We Monsters, from The Killing (US version) creator Veena Sud.

Writer-director Veena Sud roots the action largely in one home, and has fun ratcheting up the pressure.

Set against a Canadian winter every bit as icy as the plot about to unfurl, the movie rushes past in a succession of tense stand-offs, with police, neighbours and each other, as an estranged mother and father reconcile to protect their loved one. It’s a movie that asks its audience: how unconditional should the unconditional love we grant our children be? And what lengths would you go to, if it was your child staring down the barrel of a life sentence in prison?

Writer-director Veena Sud roots the action largely in one home, and has fun ratcheting up the pressure on the increasingly beleaguered-looking Rebecca (Enos) and Jay (Sarsgaard). There are echoes of Fargo in their slow, snowy descent into madness, trapped under the weight of their own deceit. “How do you undo something really bad?” asks Kayla (Joey King) midway through the movie, to which of course there’s only one answer — you can’t. The trio at the heart of the film find this out the hard way as we hurtle towards a surprising third-act reveal that pushes the boundaries of plausibility.

The Lie seldom stops to probe the emotional impact of Kayla’s actions on her frazzled parents. Rather than exploring Jay and Rebecca’s inner anguish as they’re forced to confront the possibility they’ve raised a monster, Sud opts instead for a fast-paced plot that never sags, but never hits the emotional peaks it might have, either. That doesn’t stop The Lie from entertaining. A full-throttle thriller about characters caught in a maze of their own making, no word of a lie, it’s good fun.

A watchable tale of parental dread, propelled by a strong conceit and sustained tension — but let down by its outlandish twist.
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