On a dark and stormy night, two strangers wait out the weather in a rundown caravan deep in Australia’s coastal region. Tension mounts as the weathered trailer owner and his mysterious guest learn more about each other and the events that have drawn them both together, but these two don’t reveal their secrets easily. Over the course of the night suspicions shift and fear rains down on the thin tin roof as the storm worsens, trapping the two disparate souls together.
Written and directed by Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell, You’ll Never Find Me is a classic Chamber Piece that hinges on two demanding performances from its lead actors. The dread-filled slow burn stars Brendan Rock (Danger 5) as Patrick, a lonely man haunted by his past, and Jordan Cowan (Wolf Creek 2) whose cautiously alert character is known only as The Visitor. The script is tight, the dialogue is sharp, and with just a subtle camera movement or hidden glance from Cowan and Rock, your understanding of the situation shifts completely.
On the surface, it’s a Good Samaritan Scenario with an older gentleman trying to help a young woman in need. But watching the scene play out on the faces of the performers, you get the sense that you’re witnessing something sinister in motion. Maybe it’s the thunderstorm, maybe it’s the fact that desolate caravans are inherently eerie places at 2 AM, but there is a charge in the air and like a surprise crack of thunder, a looming danger threatens to appear if the conditions are right.
“A dread-filled slow burn […] as calculated and precisely timed as a stacked deck of cards…”
Making a tiny home a visually interesting space is no easy feat but Allen & Bell, and cinematographer Maxx Corkindale, shoot the hell out of their grubby little caravan. With almost no glance outside beyond what you can see from the front door, the four dirty walls encasing 1000 square feet of sadness & doom are where this entire story lives. The only reminder that the outside world exists at all is the constant pounding of rain drops.
In the quiet moments before his surprise guest arrives, Patrick’s caravan feels like a tomb, oversized to fit a lifetime of regrets and bad memories. But with the arrival of The Visitor the space takes on a new shape and the drone of rain becomes the sound of one thousand tiny fists pounding against the door, screaming at one (or both) of them to get out before it’s too late!
How the story unfolds is always the most rewarding part of watching a dialogue-driven thriller like You’ll Never Find Me, so don’t expect much more from me in the way of plot synopsis. Those details and their reveals are as calculated and precisely timed as a stacked deck of cards. The alchemy of the whole affair is in the atmosphere enveloping each of those moments. A chilling drop of personal philosophy here, a lingering shot down a dark hallway there, and suddenly you’ve struck grim gold.
Story is the real star here but it would all fall flat without the talent of Rock & Cowan. Their performances bring the intimacy of a small theater production, and every suspicion you have is cast from subtle changes in their expression or demeanor like the barometric pressure dropping suddenly before a hurricane hits land.
Expectations can be your worst enemy in a scenario that begs you to guess where it’s going next but You’ll Never Find Me is keen to play with your predictions, like a cat with a mouse. Just when you’re sure you’ve got it all figured out, a hint of doubt works its way in and you’re back in uncharted territory. The story finds ways of expanding out beyond the confines of the trailer in a surprising finale. Some of its biggest beats didn’t work for me, personally, but only because it was up against my own assumptions about these characters’ closely guarded secrets. The best slow burns lead to a violent boil and although You’ll Never Find Me didn’t set my world on fire, it is a taught thriller for those dark nights of the soul when you want a scary story that takes its time to reveal the horrors waiting for you.
“You’ll Never Find Me plays with your expectations, like a cat with a mouse”
Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell’s You’ll Never Find Me celebrated its world premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Keep your eyes peeled for more release info and let us know if you’re excited to see this dark & stormy thriller over on Twitter or start a discussion with the Fiends over in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord!
[#Tribeca2023 Review] A Stranger Knocks On The Wrong Door in Claustrophobic Thriller YOU’LL NEVER FIND ME
Expectations can be your worst enemy in a scenario that begs you to guess where it’s going next but You’ll Never Find Me is keen to play with your predictions, like a cat with a mouse. The best slow burns lead to a violent boil and although You’ll Never Find Me didn’t set my world on fire, it is a taught thriller for those dark nights of the soul when you want a scary story that takes its time to reveal the horrors waiting for you.