Don’t Look Back (2020) – Movie Review
19th May 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
Issac (Johnathan French) a loner man and a drifter. He’s approached by someone he knows who offers him a job. The job offers two hundred dollars per day over five days. The task is to look after a psychologically troubled woman named Olga and keep her company. Olga lives on her own in a home located on an island. The area and island on which the woman lives are completely isolated. He feels the job is too simple for Issac, and the offer seems too good to be true. He accepts.
The film begins with the introduction of Caitlin (Kourtney Bell). We witness a tragic incident that took her father’s life and barely left Caitlin alive herself. In the present day, Caitlin is still trying to overcome the tragedy of loss each day. She also suffers nightmares and even visions.
But Caitlin’s world is about to get more complex. While going for a jog at her local park, she and a few locals witness an innocent man get beaten. Caitlin freezes in shock, and others around her either watch or record the horrible beating on their phones, refusing to help. By the time Caitlin reports the event to the police, it is too late; the beaten stranger will later die in the hospital. The murderer left the scene unseen and remains on the loose within the city. Now Caitlin and a group of witnesses are dealing with the shock, and the public’s reaction after a local news anchor reveals the identities of those who refused to help. It’s not long until the members of the group who stood by begin to be murdered one by one. But who (or perhaps what?) is committing all these murders?
For those who are not aware, this film has been directed by Jeffery Reddick. Jeffery previously served as a writer on such horror films as Final Destination (2000), Destination 2 (2003), The Final Wish (2018) and many more. But this time, the well-known writer takes the seat of Director for the second time within his career.
As the film begins, several things are evident. The film’s plot and concept are just like the Final Destination franchise- a bad situation happens, and then characters die off one by one. I found it quite difficult not to compare those films with this new release. This time, Don’t Look Back looks like a lower budget film based on the image quality, effects, and cast. The sound effects are just one area where this lower quality is apparent. Effects don’t always match up with what is happening on screen or seem louder than the rest of the audio.
Thankfully, the film introduces several excellent elements and made it ever so slightly different. The film has many themes which keep the viewers guessing. Is this a murder mystery or a ghost story, and does it include elements from the Bible? By the end of the film, I felt the movie itself was unsure what it wanted to be, and I was personally left with many questions. In essence, the film is crammed with different themes instead of keeping it simple.
Moments of Don’t Look Back are highly predictable, and other moments are downright impossible to pick as the film makes its own rules as it goes along. This can make it confusing and frustrating for the viewers to see the many twists and turns. For the most part, the performances felt vague and weak, as if the cast were starring in a TV soap drama. Sound effects have highly questionable moments, which impacts the final film.
Overall, Don’t Look Back introduces the familiar concept of a tragic event that results in a small group of people being picked off one by one. It’s a popular idea from the ’90s, but thankfully, the film tries to add new elements, such as a murder mystery or ghost story. For the most part, performances were challenging to watch, as was the audio track to listen to. Don’t Look Back is worth viewing for those who enjoyed such films as Final Destination, even if it feels like a significant step backwards.
Don’t Look Back (2020) is Now Available on DVD!