Exactly how far would you go down a web of deceit to protect a loved one, even if they were guilty? The Lie, directed by Venna Sud takes a family through the darkest pathways of their morality as they try to cover up a crime. This movie is a remake of the 2015 German film We Monsters and a part of the Welcome To The Blumhouse series on Amazon Prime.
Rebecca (Mireille Enos) and Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) are two divorced parents with a teenage daughter named Kayla (Joey King). There is some tension between the family and Jay and Kayla pick up her friend Brittany (Devery Jacobs) to hang out. During that time, Jay finds out that while Kayla and Brittany are sitting on a bridge, his daughter pushed her to her death. From there, Jay tells Rebecca in a panic and the movie dives into how these parents deal with their daughter committing murder, yet not believing she is capable of that. There’s no way that your only child can hurt a fly, let alone murdering someone purposefully, right?
Murder mysteries often rely upon entice you with slow-burn intrigue and misdirects that you don’t see coming. That way, if there is a twist that happens, it will cause the audience to rack their brains to see the clues they missed along the way. The Lie captures the mood from a cinematography standpoint. The gray color pallets combine well with the wintry climate. Cinematographer Peter Wunstorf creates an atmosphere where it feels clean as if anything could be covered up in this small town.
As a narrative, it shows its cards too early before it hooks belief. Much of the movie is Rebecca and Jay having conversations on what they are going to do next, Kayla overhearing them, and reacting. The machination of the murder-mystery falls short because the parents look so stricken with guilt each time they are confronted about their stories. They hatch alibis to cover for Kayla, even though Kayla is not interested or seems that she wants to get caught.
The most interesting points of the movie come from the family’s own relationship. Rebecca and Jay get so wrapped up in protecting their daughter, that they ignore the fact that there are some unsettling things about her. She seems oddly calm at points within the storm of everything happening. At one point, The Lie settles into the stress that Kayla has experienced with her parent’s divorce. Her relationship with Jay isn’t as good as it could be, and she opens up about her difficulties.
Oddly enough, the family comes closer together as they go deeper into the lie. It’s an unsettling dichotomy of one family losing their daughter and a broken family finding themselves as they do evil deeds together. With the movie’s twist, it doesn’t conceal itself as an unwinding mystery should.
If you pay attention to certain pieces of dialogue and character motivations, the realization will be apparent. The cerebral nature that the movie strives for and the motif of appearances almost gets discarded completely with this choice. The Lie has some nerve-wracking nature to it, but only scratching the surface of themes and not choosing to investigate the best one completely truly hurts it from being satisfying.