During the pandemic many filmmakers had to pivot and think of new ways to tell stories. Gone were the big productions with masses of characters and instead there has been a steady stream of films that have stripped everything all the way back to nought more than a couple of cast members and one location. The latest movie to embrace this new method of storytelling is Australian thriller, You’ll Never Find Me. Set over the course of a dark and stormy night, You’ll Never Find Me sees Patrick (Brendan Rock) called upon in the dead of night by a mysterious woman (Jordan Cavan) in need of help. After inviting her in, the pair begin to converse. Slowly their discussions turn to a dark topic and the night gets darker still…
Co-directed by Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell (who also wrote the script),You’ll Never Find Me is a terrific addition to this burgeoning sub-genre of thrillers. From the opening moments, You’ll Never Find Me is laced with threat. Even before the central couple have crossed paths, there is something unsettling in the air. Once man and woman are seated around the table from one another, the tension gradually begins to build. The viewer knows nothing of either party and so is not invested in one side over the other. As they begin to talk the viewer becomes drawn into their stories, but is placed in a neutral position, leaving them to decide who they can and cannot trust. It is a nifty technique that helps maintain the terse atmosphere.
Wrapped around this expertly woven tale of intrigue is the ever present storm. Instead of settling into the background after its initial introduction, the storm rumbles on in tandem with Patrick and his nocturnal visitor. The constant howling wind whips around Patrick’s abode, generating a rich, eerie atmosphere that compliments the claustrophobic nature of the interior beautifully. The visuals work as an extension to the soundscape, the low lamp light illuminating the building with an oppressive ambience. Bell and Allen also use colour, namely reds and blues, in a very particular manner. Initially these primary colours are separate – red indoors, blue outdoors – but as the narrative progresses they begin to bleed together. By the climax they are alternately flashing both in and around the building, creating an assault on the senses that draws the viewer deeper into the web.
The further into the story You’ll Never Find Me goes, the tighter the grasp Bell and Allen take on the audience’s nerves. Eventually Bell and Allen reveal their intentions, but even then there is no release. Rather than deflating the stress crafted thus far, the pair manage to amplify the dread. The first hour is chat-heavy, the two leads circling topics without fully forming the words they want too. Then, just as the viewer thinks that they have the film pegged, the method of storytelling morphs. The latter half forgoes the idle talk, becoming more abstract, both vocally and visually. As their conversation makes way for action, the audience is held by the jugular in the palm of Bell and Allen’s hands; there’s barely a second of You’ll Never Find Me that isn’t steeped in angst.
You’ll Never Find Me was reviewed at TriBeCa Film Festival 2023.
You’ll Never Find Me
A terse debut that takes a burgeoning sub-genre and spins it on its head, generating a nerve-shredding atmosphere that is hard to shake.