You'll Never Find Me
Directors: Josiah Allen, Indianna Bell
Starring: Jordan Cowan, Brendan Rock
I do enjoy Aussie horror/thrillers so I was excited to find out that Tribeca would be hosting a new release from Down Under - You’ll Never Find Me from feature debutants Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell (who also wrote the movie). Claustrophobic to a tee, the film is set in an old RV during the middle of a raging storm and plays host to Patrick (Rock), a reclusive older man, and ‘The Visitor’ (Cowan), a young woman who stumbles across the trailer seeking solace from the elements.
Presented as a chamber piece, You’ll Never Find Me has the real feeling of a stage production with its four-walled single location, performers duelling verbally and philosophically, and minimal music. Relying almost entirely on the performances of Cowan and Rock, You’ll Never Find Me is a stripped-back, nail-biting, tension-fest…until it isn’t.
Cowan and Rock are fantastic throughout You’ll Never Find Me, their verbal sparring shifting between confrontational, amicable, untrustworthy, and personal throughout, though, thanks to the superb writing from Bell, the viewer never quite knows whom to trust at any time. The film is written so that the pendulum tilts slightly back and forth. Patrick flits between caring and cold whilst slowly drip-feeding information regarding him and his past, whereas The Visitor is seemingly keeping a tight lid on her activities, what she was doing in the storm, and how she managed to access the gated facility. Their back-and-forth dialogue is excellent - even if it did threaten to fall into a monologue battle - and genuinely creates a sense of unease that never lets up. Couple that with the grimy trailer Patrick resides in (captured in its grim glory by Maxx Corkindale), a home that we gradually get more and more access to as the film progresses, and the effective lighting and sound design, and You’ll Never Find Me is a super example of how to conjure up dread using the basics of storytelling - performances, location, lighting, sound.
Whilst the film is unfolding, Allen and Bell are seemingly daring you to work out where this is all heading and how this will all end. Subtle shifts in behaviour from our characters ensure we can never be too sure, it could be a glance, a head tilt, or a moment of silence, between them Cowan and Rock sell the hell out of the situations. When we reach the conclusion of the film, however, is where I was slightly disappointed. Without revealing anything, the film takes a more abstract turn alongside the menacing direction the story takes, and it didn’t quite land for me. The first two (and a half) acts are so damn strong that I couldn’t help but wish the film had stayed on course with its tone and, well, been slightly more conventional. That said, the conclusion isn't a terrible affair whatsoever, it’s bonkers and slightly chaotic, but it lets us see behind the curtain somewhat and the crazy lighting and visuals do pay off what came before in those aspects.
You’ll Never Find Me is a deliciously sinister chamber piece that just fell short at its conclusion, however, Cowan and Rock are so damn good with the sharp dialogue they have, it's hard to shake how effective and dread-filled this Aussie thriller was.
June 11th 2023