Remade from the 2015 German thriller, We Monster, Veena Sud’s The Lie premiered in the 2018 TIFF before Blumhouse took it under ‘Welcome to the Blumhouse’ anthology for Amazon. The story, as the title suggests, is built upon the titular lie; but, as you might have known, a lie does not stop on the first count. There has to be another lie and another to follow and cover up. In no time, the lies had spinned out of control; and, that’s basically what the movie is all about.
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The story sets when Jay (Peter Saarsgard) drives his daughter, Kayla (Joey King from The Conjuring and The Kissing Booth), to a retreat. That’s when they encounter Brittany (Devery Jacobs), Kayla’s school mate, and decide to give her a ride. From there, things have suddenly gone in all the wrong way. In no time, Jay’s ex-wife, Rebecca (Mireille Enos), and Brittany’s father, Sam (Cas Anvar), will be dragged into the sorrow —a pyramid of troubles built upon lies.
It’s a movie that aims to be heartbreaking but ironical at the same time. Set against wintry days outside, Jay and Rebecca must put aside the problem unsolved from their past marriage to devise plans and protect their daughter. The solution comes in reflections to their current relationship; they have to lie to themselves to put aside their differences for a common purpose. Now, they have to lie to get their daughter out of trouble. That shows just how far the former couple goes for their beloved one, even when they know there’s no turning back from this.
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There’s a shade of similar root between this and Thomas Vinterbeg’s The Hunt, where lies become the epicenter of the whole thriller, although the Danish movie takes a more dramatic step. The Lies, on the other hand, takes a more suspenseful step. The thing is, it never stops and reflects on how each action affects the protagonists. There seems to be an urgency to make a cheap thrill out of this story; therefore, the story keeps on going to uncharted territories only to find them undone. As the lies keep piling, frustration comes piling up on the audiences’ side as well. Each action leads to another lie and, as soon as the lie is unraveled, another action has to get taken off almost immediately.
When the lies reach the peak, The Lie unravel a shocking third act that immediately switches the whole dynamic of the movie. However, it comes a little too late and a little too distant. It’s ironic but we never reach the emotional height. Even when it does not come out of nowhere, it gives the feeling that audiences are fooled for good, even when the movie has given away the most obvious hint before our eyes. In doing so, it has given up its potentially yet frustratingly legit thriller.