Blinders review – technology and making friends too easily combine to make a thriller that creeps up on you Stranger danger

August 31, 2020
Alix Turner 0
Film, Film Reviews
3

Summary

The dual risks of technology and meeting people are combined in this thriller which starts gentle and becomes unnerving. Strong characters draw you in, despite the slightly uneven tone.

3

Summary

The dual risks of technology and meeting people are combined in this thriller which starts gentle and becomes unnerving. Strong characters draw you in, despite the slightly uneven tone.

Blinders is about Andy (Vincent Van Horn), a likeable guy who moves to Los Angeles looking for a fresh start. He finds a decent apartment, explores dive bars and makes friends with Sam (Christine Ko), also drinking alone, and gets a ride-share back to hers: so far so good. Andy is so keen to make friends that he barely blinks before swapping numbers with the ride-share driver Roger (Michael Lee Joplin) when they bump into each other the next day. The audience could plainly see Roger was a little over-friendly the night before, but Andy was only thinking about his luck at meeting Sam. When Andy does realise soon after that there’s “something a bit off” about Roger, he’s not so easy to brush off.

So essentially, Blinders is a thriller about a man and his stalker; and it’s kind of refreshing to see a different gender dynamic there than usual. Interesting, too, because Andy reacts differently than a typical woman might if she suspected someone was following or watching her: his reaction is much more agitation rather than fear, though he does display the familiar frustration when he isn’t taken seriously.

As well as the stalker topic, Blinders is also very much about information technology, and how easy it can be to invade a person’s privacy, and find out everything one needs to hack their lives. Scary stuff, especially considering, like Andy in the film, you’re unlikely to know your information has been hacked until it has been used against you. Blinders also uses social media and texts as part of the storytelling medium, which makes perfect sense: this is how we make and keep friends these days.

Director Tyler Savage thought about these issues when he was driven home by someone who asked rather too many personal questions, and wrote the story with Dash Hawkins; and very effective writing it is too. For the most part, the people concerned are ordinary, everyday folks, which makes the scenario believable. The character of Andy himself is especially well presented, demonstrating the pain of a tragic breakup and the urge to be liked. I felt for him a great deal.

Like Roger, Blinders seemed harmless at first and it sucked me right in. It was a gentle drama, with some endearing characters and some humorous moments. But then Roger’s pranks got nasty and I got so engrossed with Blinders that I didn’t notice the time passing and my dinner burned. Really. At times, it has a similar tone to Patrick Brice’s Creep, and has the potential for a sequel as Creep had. However, the tension isn’t there for quite as much of the film, and it comes and goes quite unevenly.

The other issue I found – despite enjoying Blinders a lot – was that the stalker’s motivation was unconvincing. Maybe there isn’t always a clear reason, though. To be honest, if someone was fixated on me, and sneakily damaging my relationships or reputation, I wouldn’t care about the reason.

This review was filed from FrightFest 2020. You can check out all of our coverage on the festival by clicking these words.


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