"You Should Have Left" is a reunion of sorts for Kevin Bacon and writer/director David Koepp - who teamed up for the very disturbing, but every effective "Stir of Echoes."
Returning to those horror roots and teaming with the Blumhouse production company, it would seem that "Left" had all the makings for another solid entry in the horror genre. Those looking for lightning to strike twice will likely be disappointed however, with "Left" a cliche ridden haunted house film that lacks the same creativity and suspense of "Echoes."
Bacon stars as Theo, a middle age man married to a much younger actress named Susanna (Amanda Seyfried). Their relationship is strained by Theo's jealousy and lack of trust, but also collapsing under the baggage of his first marriage - which ended with the mysterious death of his wife.
Looking to keep the marriage together for the sake of their young daughter (Avery Essex), the family takes a vacation to a huge home in the secluded Welsh countryside. The isolation only builds tension, as Theo grows more and more paranoid - convinced that the house is inhabited by some other entity.
"You Should Have Left" opens with a standard jump scare before a nice sequence that sets up the uncomfortable tension between Theo and Susanna. It gets the film off to a promising start, suggesting the same psychological terror that worked so well in "Echoes."
That good will quickly fades when the movie shifts to the home, with Koepp using every trick in the book to build suspense. You get a lot of shadows, a lot of long spooky halls and more cheap jump scares that are predictable and lacking any tension.
Sure some of it is visually appealing, but it comes off as a low rent attempt to recreate the isolation of "The Shining."
Bacon tries hard to make it work, with a performance that requires him to slowly lose grip with reality as he wrestles his personal demons. Seyfried is fine too, but her character is relegated to an afterthought to all of the haunted house tropes that pile up in the second half.
It leads to a rather predictable conclusion, one that wants to emulate the same level of audience shock as the conclusion of "Stir of Echoes." "You Should Have Left" is unable to reach those heights, ultimately proving to be nothing more than a standard horror film that we've seen done many times before - and usually done better.