CHENNAI: To protect one’s child is perhaps the most overriding of human instincts and writer-director Veena Sud offers an incisive account of this in her tightly edited and gripping “The Lie,” part of Blumhouse’s horror anthology now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The film opens with divorced father Jay (Peter Sarsgaard) and his 15-year-old daughter, Kayla (Joey King), driving across a desolate, snowy landscape on the way to a weekend retreat hosted by her ballet school. Kayla spots her friend Brittany (Devery Jacobs) at a bus stop and begs her father to let her ride with them. There is some hesitation on Jay’s face – a premonition of what is to come — but he asks his daughter’s friend to hop in the car.
The English-language remake of the 2015 German drama “We Monsters” then follows the trio as Kayla and Brittany wander off into the forest a little way later so the latter can find somewhere to relieve herself. Tension builds and Jay hears a scream, only to find Kayla sitting on a fence overlooking an angry, swollen river before she admits to pushing Brittany into the freezing water, probably killing her.
Jay is faced with a stark choice — go to the police or pretend as if nothing happened, after all, nobody saw them pick Brittany up. Wracked by guilt, Kayla lashes out over the course of the bitterly bleak film and things get worse when Brittany’s father comes to Kayla’s house looking for his missing daughter.
Kayla’s mother, Rebecca (Mireille Enos), blurts out the titular lie in her panic and things spiral out of control.
It’s a study in just how far into the realm of the unethical parents can go to save their children —particularly unsettling is the way they try to cast suspicion on Brittany’s father, who is of South Asian origin.
With top-notch performances — especially King’s, who displays the angst of being caught between her conscience and a prison term with believability — “The Lie” is one of the eight films produced by Blumhouse as a horror series under the banner, “Welcome to Blumhouse.”