Text Box: DVDSleuth.com

Text Box:   




DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily DVD news and reviews.


I See You (2019)

Paramount Home Entertainment

DVD Released: 1/21/2020

All Ratings out of


Video: 1/2


Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/5/2020

In the twenty years that I’ve been reviewing home video releases, I’ve watched a lot of movies and most of them are bad.  That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.  Many, many of these films had played in theaters, received a great deal of hype and then landed in my DVD/Blu-ray Disc/4K UHD player with a disappointing thud.  As I’ve stated many times before, I want every movie which I take the time to watch to be good, but the vast majority are average at best.  However, the great thing about watching so many movies is that I occasionally stumble across a “diamond in the rough” – a film which has been dumped onto home video which is far better than most big-time releases.  When these movies come along, I want to tell everyone about them, so pay attention as we discuss I See You.

The Harper family is going through a rough patch.  Jackie (Helen Hunt) was caught cheating on her husband, Greg (Jon Tenney), so things are very icy between the two.  Their teenaged son, Connor (Judah Lewis), is also aware of the infidelity, and he’s being just as cold towards his mother.  Greg works as a police detective and he finds himself baffled as a decades-old series of child abductions suddenly starts again, with the same clues from those old crimes appearing again.  As if all of that weren’t bad enough, strange things begin to happen in the Harper’s house.  Objects move from room-to-room, things disappear, doors open and close.  Has a supernatural presence entered their home and is it tied to the kidnappings?

In years past, when Hollywood had no faith in a movie or they were simply ready to cost their losses and recoup whatever money that they could, they would put it in theaters in January.  (Some semi-high-profile films have been released in the first month of the year over the past decade, so I’m not sure if that rule is still true.)  On the home video front, a very similar kiss of death can be inferred when a movie is released on DVD.  Not 4K UHD.  Not Blu-ray Disc.  Only DVD.  (This may even be a step below streaming and on-demand.)  When something debuts on DVD today that’s a sure sign that the company is fulfilling some obligation by releasing it.  And, in most cases, the assumption is that the movie probably isn’t very good.

Thus, I can’t help but wonder why I See You is relegated to this technology which is now over 20 years old, as it’s much better than a lot of movie which get better treatment.  Now, the movie is not perfect, but for something which pretty much went direct to video in the U.S., it’s pretty good.  Writer Devon Graye (who is also an actor, best known for playing teenaged Dexter on Dexter) has constructed a script isn’t so much a “whodunit?”, as a “what’s happening here?”.  The synopsis above is a bit vague on purpose, as the second act of the movie takes the story in a completely new direction and begins to fill in the gaps from Act I.  Act III then brings everything full circle.  In an age when many movies are criminally under-written, Graye has taken the time to deliver a screenplay which not only introduced a new twist on an old idea of terrifying people, but playfully fills in holes as it moves along.

And that’s what makes I See You worth watching.  If the story had been told in a linear fashion, it probably would have been OK, but nothing special.  For once, putting a Tarantino twist on the story truly makes it work, instead of making things more complicated.  In short, the movie lays out some ideas, and then shows us those same ideas from a different angle, which helps to tie things together.  The movie then lays on the drama as we learn the final truth.  The film is difficult to pigeon-hole, as it seems like a horror movie at first, but then it becomes more of a crime thriller which also contains a hefty dose of family drama.  There is also a palpable sense of emotion here, as we, the audience, have no sympathy for Jackie, given how her actions have affected the family.

Again, I See You is not perfect, but it’s certainly worth a look.  As noted above, the story shifts halfway through, so even if you think that you’ve seen this before, stick with it.  That’s probably unnecessary advice, as many viewers will keep watching just to find out exactly what is going on.  As part of her recent comeback, this probably wasn’t the vehicle that Helen Hunt hoped it would be, but she and the rest of the cast do quite well at making everything here believable.  No, you haven’t heard of it and yes, the title is dumb, but I See You should be on your list of things to watch.

I See You will add a new word to your vocabulary on DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment.  The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs.  The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials.  The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright.  As one would imagine, the level of detail and the overall crispness of the image pale in comparison to the HD quality of Blu-ray Disc to which we’ve become accustomed.  The transfer doesn’t look bad by any means, but it simply doesn’t have the sharp look of other releases.  The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which delivers clear and sound effects.  Despite the lack of a lossless track, the audio shines here, as we the mix highlights sounds coming from around the house.  This sense of atmosphere really helps to amplify the overall effect of the movie.  We also get some nicely timed subwoofer effects as well.

The I See You DVD contains no special features.

Review Copyright 2020 by Mike Long