There’s something about Maika Monroe’s face that portrays an odd sentiment her words can’t say. Earlier this year, she was in Watcher, as a woman alone in Bucharest, Romania when her husband gets a new job that she seems out of place both in the city and among the people there. There’s a language barrier and she begins to fear a neighbor across the street she things is watching her and up to worse things.
In Significant Other, she plays Ruth, a 20-something with anxiety issues in a six-year relationship with Harry (Jake Lacy). From the start, we see there are issues as she is asleep or pretending to be asleep as they drive through on a road to a wooded area presumably in the Pacific Northwest. They’re on their way to a hiking and camping trip Harry wants to go on and we can tell Ruth doesn’t.
From a road side diner, there is already problems as there isn’t a vegetarian meal for Ruth and Harry mentions he had them put a lot of side items together for her. A young boy who’s supposed to be a bus boy comes by and asked them if they saw a red object in the sky earlier. Then a woman appears behind them and calls him over.
From the start this is a sci-fi/horror movie. We see that. But what are the aliens up to?
Passing the boy’s comment off as just weirdness, they have a so-so time in the woods as Harry has some ulterior motives other than just a simple camping trip. He proposes marriage to her at a scenic overlook of the ocean. She has a panic attack and rejects him, and Harry says it’s okay. But we can tell it isn’t.
The next day, they discover the body of a deer covered in some black goo. Harry suspect from a book he’s reading that it was just a unique virus. But Ruth discovers something that makes her question Harry more. It’s hard to continue to tell more because there’s a twist that I won’t divulge here.
Significant Other is a typical low budget B-movie. Since the movie relies so much on the performances of Monroe and Lacy, they have to give good performances. There are a brief moment in which Ruth meets an older couple, Ray (Matthew Yang King) and Vivian (Dana Green) that brings in the movie’s twist. But this is mostly Monroe’s movie as she has to deal with her own problems.
She’s already been in The Guest and It Follows and is on her way to become one of the more modern Scream Queens, but she doesn’t really scream as much as observe here. She seems timid in her performance as a woman struggling from her past and having to deal with a partner who may not be the best for her. It helps that both Monroe and Lacy have an odd chemisty together. They come off as the couple who are still together but no one can see why. I feel that Harry really loves her but he’s growing tired of her behavior. And Ruth does love Harry, she just keeps up the relationship to avoid being lonely.
There’s not many scares as we’re told from the start that aliens are involved. But this is a different horror movie that’s more character driven. There’s a surprise that’s rather brutal about two-thirds through but some people might find the ending a let down. At 84 minutues plus credits, there’s enough here to make people who like a character-driven horror story happy. I also like how they keep Ruth’s anxiety and panic attacks a constant issue rather than forget about it when it no longer comes convenient (side-eye to the latest Hellraiser with its substance abuse subplot.)
What do you think? Please comment.