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‘Caveat’ review: Irish horror movie filled with tension and claustrophobia

Moody Irish thriller.

Caveat starts off like a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. Shortly after, Isaac (Johnathan French) is approached by Moe Barret (Ben Caplan) with a strange offer. Moe’s niece Olga (Leila Sykes) has taken to visiting the home where her father committed suicide. If Isaac stays at the home and watches her, he will be paid handsomely. The catch? He must wear a harness attached to a  chain that will limit his movements.

Unsurprisingly, Damian McCarthy’s film is a claustrophobic one. Everything takes place in tight hallways and small rooms. Even if Isaac was not tethered, there still would not be much room to move. This is juxtaposed with the occasional shot of a wide open space. Large rooms look even bigger while outdoor scenes are especially impressive. Caveat has an overall impressive look.

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The film overflows with atmosphere. Early on, a rowboat has to be taken to the home. It is reminiscent of many classic horror stories. Caveat plays out more like a thriller at times, but the setting is akin to a haunted house. The story incorporates many different elements. Caveat contains mysteries and an exciting cat and mouse. The more horror-centric portions seemed shoehorned in at times, but come together nicely in the closing moments.

As gripping as Caveat can be, there are some noticeable flaws. The story is uneven with some odd choices. Things become too complicated during the final act as the promising premise gets lost in the weeds. The plot does manage to right the ship in the final moments. Caveat does not answer every question, but there is no need to. There is a sense of closure to all that has happened.

Caveat comes to Shudder on June 3

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