Leave is the latest addition to the media streaming platform dedicated to the horror genre, Shudder. Following a young woman as she seeks out answers to a past of abandonment, Leave takes us to the rural countryside of Norway as we follow one girl’s journey of discovery, betrayal, and dark family secrets.
Hunter White (played by German actress, Alicia Von Rittburg) was abandoned as a baby in a cemetery, swaddled only in a cloth bearing satanic symbolism. 25 years later, she is needing answers about her infantile desertion. With the question ‘why?’ ringing in her ears, she heads to rural Norway in a bid to meet her blood relatives and to find the answers that she so yearns.
However, as Hunter gets close to the truth, she becomes haunted by a mysterious entity that asks her to ‘Leave’. Not only does this give us, a reason for the title of the movie, but it also further encourages our haunted heroine to delve deeper into a dark history of malign family secrets, treachery, and the occult.
As Hunter beings to uncover the malevolent truth, she soon discovers far more than she at first set out to find.
Leave – A Disappointing Debut that Should have been Left
Being the debut movie for Norwegian movie director, Alex Herron, we were expecting Leave to be Herron’s big entrance into the world of horror cinema; a dramatic entrance that would stay on the minds of the audience and leave us wanting more. Instead, we were met with a lackluster 100-minute grind with fewer scares than an episode of Scooby-Doo.
With a premise that paves the way for countless opportunities to deliver some great psychological and supernatural horror moments, it was sad to see these chances wasted as we endured the all too lengthy, drawn-out, and repetitive production.
Leave Sets the Tone but Fails to Deliver on Anything Else
If there’s one positive thing to say about Herron’s first work, it’s that he does an excellent job of inducing a looming atmosphere through cast, lighting, and scenery. The cast members, while mostly unheard of, give Leave a slight edge as they deliver performances perfectly suited to their characters’ roles, while the dreary, bleak scenery and dated decor give us all the atmosphere expected of a modern-day horror movie. However, all of this is near-redundant with little else to provide a little substance to what otherwise could have been a commendable horror title, packed with haunting scenes and moments to keep us awake at night.
The Lead Character Carries Leave
Von Rittberg is heavily depended on as her character embarks on her one-woman quest to find the truth behind her unfortunate past and she does a dependable job of filling Hunter’s shoes. However, again the script becomes the crux of the movie as it offers the talented actress very little in the all-too-important aspects of a horror feature. There’s no real sense of danger for the character and very little in the way of high-stakes tension to keep the viewer engaged.
It’s clear to see the young actress’s talent as she carries Leave broken and battered across the finish line and it would be great to see her in a movie that would offer her a real chance to spread her wings and make it in the industry.
Leave – Summary
Leave lacks any of the defining features that make a good horror movie. At times, it seems a little ray of hope attempts to shine through, to be quickly extinguished and buried in a landslide of monotony, disappointment, and abject tedium.
If you’re looking for a cure for insomnia or you’re a glutton for punishment, Leave is available to stream now on Shudder.