Director: Alex McAulay
Cast: Jack Dylan Grazer, Fionn Whitehead, Rainn Wilson
Release Date: March 16, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
While stealing money to help their sick mother (Mena Suvari), teen brothers Matt and Joey (Fionn Whitehead and Jack Dylan Grazer) are surprised by Hamby (Primetime Emmy® Award nominee Rainn Wilson), a security officer who gives chase and is then trapped in a well. Over the next few days, Joey and Hamby forge an uneasy relationship. Hamby tells Joey he’ll keep quiet if Joey sets him free. But Hamby holds another secret, one that will threaten Joey and his family, in this twist-filled, cat-and-mouse thriller.
Please Note: Lionsgate Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ accompanies teenage brothers Matt (Whitehead) and Joey (Grazer) who desperate for money to help pay for their mom’s (Suvari) medical bills don a gas mask and break into a tented home to rob it. But after successfully taking the money within, the pair is confronted by a security guard (Wilson) who gives chase before falling into a well that was covered by foliage. Against the warnings of his bullying older brother, Joey starts visiting the security guard and bringing him supplies as a result of his guilt. As the man pleads for their help to escape, the brothers can’t help but be hesitant due to the robbery he caught them leaving, but will Joey’s guilt get the better of him or will he leave the man to die? And what might happen should he be freed.
The film was written and directed by Alex McAulay and he does a pretty solid job altogether at the helm of ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ guiding along the tense and twisty tale with a fittingly gloomy tone. The film also owes plenty of credit to the limited key cast which includes Jack Dylan Grazer (Shazam!), Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk), Mena Suvari (American Pie) and Rainn Wilson (TV’s The Office), along with a few others who each offer decent performances at the very least in their respective roles. Grazer and Wilson both tend to shine above the others overall though and their solid performances really help this one to work as competently as it does.
‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ is an intriguing thriller that focuses on two struggling brothers who resort to robbery of a tented house nearby to get by and keep their mother taken care of as her cancer progresses, and the one random encounter with a security guard afterward that will test their bond, beliefs and ability to live with their choices. It has a lot going for it and never has any trouble holding your attention throughout its duration as each character begins to find their limits while struggling with the events at hand. Some of the events and revelations may not be all that surprising when thrown in your face, yet the story always keeps things fast paced and tense. Some elements do occasionally go a bit overboard, primarily the aggressive relationship between the brothers which becomes downright silly at points. Fortunately at least a fair amount of its issues can be somewhat forgiven due to the cast, particularly Wilson and Grazer who consistently keep things on the right side of believable with their highly capable performances. Paired with a fittingly bleak and moody tone and a quiet intensity always building, it soon becomes clear that ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ is at least a good step beyond your average mediocre film. I would definitely encourage anyone that’s a fan of the key cast or at all intrigued by the film to try and find the opportunity to check it out whenever it’s convenient.
Overall, ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ is a tense and engaging cat and mouse thriller that may not be entirely perfect, but manages to evolve into a much more solid and entertaining thriller than you might initially expect, largely thanks to the standout performances by Rainn Wilson and Jack Dylan Grazer who keep this uncertain tale moving along quite smoothly and help some of the more ridiculous elements to be forgiven or even disregarded. ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ is recommended, especially for fans of Wilson and Grazer along with those who enjoy similar thrillers. It’s occasionally a bit sloppy or over the top in a few areas but still delivers more than competently enough to make it worthwhile. At the absolute least it should be worth checking out whenever it hits your favorite streaming service or premium channel for those of you on the fence.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite decent for the most part and delivers a generally satisfying and clean presentation from start to finish. There are a few moments throughout that seem to be unnaturally heavy on video noise but they’re few and far between and the remainder of the presentation doesn’t disappoint. It holds up nicely even during the numerous darkly lit moments, never resulting in anything onscreen becoming negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a largely satisfying high definition video presentation that aside from a few minor instances looks great throughout.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The original announcement for the release as well as the physical Blu-ray artwork and slipcase list the audio as a Dolby Atmos presentation, although that’s incorrect (as is the listed runtime) and the included audio is in fact a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track. This good news is that this multichannel soundtrack is far from disappointing and offers a clean, crisp and occasionally quite active audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly embraces all five available channels in order to send nature content, bits of crowd chatter and more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that more than delivers in every way required of it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ includes one notable extra: ‘Flesh & Blood: Creating Don’t Tell a Soul’ (running approximately 21 minutes in length) which explores various aspects of bringing the film to life and includes interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ Arrives Home on Blu-ray & DVD March 16, 2021 & is Now Available on Digital from Saban Films & Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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