You should still see “I still see you”

You should still see “I still see you” July 22, 2022

Image: Amazon

What if a laboratory explosion caused there to be echoes of the dead, caught in loops reflecting a few seconds of their lives? That’s the odd premise of Scott Speer’s odd 2018 film I Still See You. These echoes–called “remnants”–can’t interact with the living world, which means when Ronnie (Bella Thorne) receives a warning from one she knows that something is amiss.

I won’t give away more than that–the plot is fairly straightforward for a film that can’t decide if it’s thriller, horror, or science fiction. Because of that indecisiveness, the theme the film is going for ends up being somewhat weak. The good news is, because of the weak themes it doesn’t bother trying to push a political or social agenda. And I say this with all due respect to the folks over at Ebert’s website who try to locate it as a part of the ‘trusting the wrong men’ narrative. I suppose there’s technically some of that (again, no spoilers from me!). But if that’s there it’s definitely in the sub-sub-text. Instead, I Still See You appears really just to be trying to tell an interesting story in a fascinating/unsettling world.

And this is an unsettling world. The remnants fall apart when touched by the living, and again (seemingly) can’t interact. Stuck in an eternity of repetition, some are living the moments of their death while others live out the mundane and normal moments of life. If this is what we can expect on the other side, it would seem that there isn’t much to look forward to.

To its credit, I Still See You reflects on this in an handful of conversations between the characters. But it never gets caught up in speculation that by definition can’t go anywhere. Instead, what we learn is that the remnants in fact can interact with the living, and are doing so regularly in ways that the living cannot comprehend. The unawareness here is on our part, not on theirs. And this, I think, is something that it’s interesting for Christians to reflect on (and certainly a common enough theme in writers like C.S. Lewis). I’m not much of a believer in ghosts in the sense that we see in the movies or read about in less-than-reputable websites. But even if I were to believe in ghosts I like to think that I’d realize that they are going to operate on rules not defined by me and potentially outside of my understanding. Insisting that this world operate on our own rules rarely works out well for us, so it should be easy to understand why the next world may be beyond even our ability to comprehend.

Again, the film doesn’t get hung up on these ideas. Instead, exploration of the world shaped by rules other than ours is the order of the day. And as far as that goes, it leaves us with an interesting movie worth your time.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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