Caught (2018) Review Terrestrial Extras
An English couple’s home is invaded by very silly maybe-aliens in Jamie Patterson’s self-serious chamber thriller. Written by Dave Allsop and Alex Francis, Caught stars Mickey Summer, April Pearson, Cian Barry and Ruben Crow.
As far as unintentionally-hilarious sorta-sci-fi horror movies go, Caught is a pretty hysterical one. Set in the quaint West Sussex countryside of 1972, it starts out as a home-invasion thriller and only gets nuttier from there.
Andrew (Crow) and Julie (Summer) are married journalists – he’s a writer, she’s a photographer – who live in a very nice inherited country home with their young son, Toby (Aaron Davis), and their infant daughter. Struggling to make ends meet, their next professional pitch is an exposé of covert military operations on the local moors – a wonderful idea, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Trouble comes a-calling in the form of Mr. and Mrs. Blair (Barry and Pearson), an oddly formal couple who look like a late-80s brother-sister pop duo and speak like alien visitants from old B-movies. As it turns out they might actually be aliens, but then again they could just as easily be demonic apparitions or the Jehovah’s Witnesses that Andrew initially pegs them for – it’s kind of unclear.
That’s the problem with Caught, really. The screenplay doesn’t go anywhere all that interesting or serve up any digestible answers as to who – or, indeed, what – the Blairs actually are. Beyond, of course, stilted oddballs with evil-ish gawps and a hysterical way of pausing between each line, which is Caught’s other problem. In lieu of any effective action or atmosphere, the filmmakers opt to have the characters chatter through reams of panicky dialogue.
The horror, such as it is, can be found in the Blairs’ increasingly-strange and threatening behavior; Mr. Blair repeatedly inquires as to when Toby will be coming home from school (although when he does, nothing really comes of it) and Mrs. Blair starts vomiting viscous fluid and physically decomposing. You can predict, I’m sure, how good of a morning the friendly mailman (Dave Mounfield) has when he stops by on his rounds.
Caught would be a lot better if it really leaned into the absurdist, farcical vibe of its unconvincing villains, but to its detriment everything is treated with po-faced seriousness, which only ever works in the film’s early stages, where Patterson, a visually and technically above-average filmmaker, can actually ratchet up some real claustrophobic tension from the single interior setting. It doesn’t last, and the decent makeup can’t save it from becoming, above all else, a bit of joke.