Help 2022 Blade Ridder Film Review

Help (2022) directed by Blake Ridder | FEATURE FILM REVIEW

Grace drops in on Liv (an old school friend) and Edward, under the pretence of Edwards’ birthday. As the weekend develops, secrets are exposed, and clashes form between guest and hosts. This is the premise for Blake Ridder‘s Help (2022) but not the whole story.

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A thriller, but which form shall it take?

From the beginning there is an uncertainty as to which route this movie will take. Will it circle around domestic violence or home invasion thriller? The creepy neighbour, David (Blake Ridder) provides the potential for the latter, whilst the stilted dialogue and tensions between the characters raise the prospect of the former.

Blake Ridder Help 2022 Movie
Blake Ridder’s Help (2022). Image: Ridder Films

The man who brings it all together

As well as his appearance as David, Blake Ridder is the man pulling all the strings on this movie. As both writer and director he is the man most responsible for the strengths and weaknesses in this film. 

Help is well structured with a script that keeps you guessing throughout as to which direction it will take next. The look is well polished, though with hints of Parasite (2019) which doesn’t always help the story. There is, however one, big problem here.

The First Act

The opening act of the movie, as the friends come together, feels forced and unnatural. The delivery of the dialogue is stilted and jars with the viewer. Maybe this is intentional, but it has the effect of feeling false and many viewers may give up on the film which would be a shame as once it hits its stride there is a lot to recommend.

Emily Redpath Sarah Alexandra Marks Help Movie
Emily Redpath and Sarah Alexandra Marks in Blake Ridder’s Help (2022). Image: Ridder Films

Performances that begin to shine

The fault for the first act is not the actors; as the story progresses the small ensemble draws you in and the performances start to shine as the film continues. 

Emily Redpath (Grace) gives a commendable turn for one so early in their career, giving the audience a central character who seems natural and interesting. Louis James (Edward) offers a brooding and menacing performance but, at the same time, shows a softer side which keeps you guessing. Sarah Alexandra Marks (Liv) portrays the sweet innocent girlfriend well whilst also hinting at a fragility to her character.

Behind the camera

Even when the opening act threatens to derail the film, there is one thing keeping you on board and that is the score. Brilliantly created by Ruth Chan, it points the way for the viewers to tell them that there is more here than meets the eye, but at the same time it doesn’t give away the exact direction the movie is taking. This means that a level of intrigue is maintained.

A well-crafted thriller

Despite an early wobble, the film holds on to offer a well-crafted thriller which can be hugely enjoyable. 

It might not stay long in the memory, but it will entertain whilst it is there. Help keeps its levels of suspense well, right up until the end, and the characters draw you in to really care about what is happening. If it wasn’t for the opening act, this would be a great little thriller.

Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Images courtesy of Ridder Films

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewer / Writer

From video store manager to English teacher but generally just a complete nerd about all things related to cinema.

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