news ‘Somewhere Quiet’ Review: Jennifer Kim Leads Wannabe ‘Get Out’ That Misunderstands Trauma

“Somewhere Quiet” never has a loud message, and that’s just one of the many misuses of a great concept and haunting cast that plagues the would-be psychological thriller. The feature film, written and directed by Olivia West Lloyd, stars Jennifer Kim as Meg, a woman who recently escaped a kidnapping and is trying to acclimate back to normal life with her husband Scott (Kentucker Adler).

Since Scott’s family comes from old money, Meg was held at ransom for months until she managed to flee her kidnappers. Yet Scott’s suggestion for Meg’s relaxation involves bringing her back out into a remote setting, care of his family’s old beach house. Throw in his leering cousin Madeline (a deliciously unhinged Marin Ireland) and Meg is suddenly a third wheel in yet another tense setting.

Is she just jumpy or is Scott controlling? Are Madeline’s flirtations with both Scott and Meg fueled by her fetishization of Meg’s Korean heritage? Scott’s family has framed photographs of missionary work in Korea, and Scott keeps sleepwalking over to where the photos are. Meg continues to have nightmares that question Scott’s motives for keeping her isolated, but the racial component is never fully addressed, nor is Meg’s rising paranoia amid her obvious PTSD.

Her only interaction with someone outside of Scott’s family is with handyman Joe (Micheál Neeson) who warns her about trespassing on the property, before he realizes that she is in fact married to one of the Whitmans who own most of the surrounding land. However, Meg can’t even trust Joe, as her suspicions as to Madeline’s true identity and Scott’s possible involvement in her kidnapping throw her sense of stability into disarray.

Writer-director Lloyd was a production manager on “Shirley,” the Shirley Jackson biopic starring Elizabeth Moss. The indie “do more with less” approach to horror is evident in “Somewhere Quiet,” as Meg starts to find clues that her nightmares are not really dreams at all. Yet, the film doesn’t go deep enough into any of the many compelling themes it presents in the first act, and instead audiences are left with a convenient Lifetime mystery of the week-esque conclusion that too neatly sums up what could have been a haunting portrayal of colonization, delusion, wealth, and the deconstruction of home amidst trauma.

Rating: B-

“Somewhere Quiet” premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. It is currently seeking U.S. distribution.