There’s something in the woods, isn’t there? It’s hardcoded into our genetic makeup. Beware the darkness, the silence, the fact that something is almost inevitably watching you. So, a fine place for a nice romantic hike then.
Significant Other’s characters may not be full of concern as they venture into those trees, but the movie absolutely ensures that you are.
Ruth (Maika Monroe) is less keen on the idea of traipsing around woods and camping for a few days than her long term boyfriend, Harry (Jake Lacy, Being The Ricardos), especially once their bickering starts.
Yet as the movie opened writers/directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen made it abundantly clear that something else is within that forest.
What Is Significant Other About?
Information is absolutely at a premium from thereon in, both from the scriptwriters and from this reviewer. What follows is a nail-biting movie that, even during its quieter moments, hangs heavy with the knowledge that time must surely be ticking away until it happens.
What it is, we are left to but guess, but anticipation of it tightens the jaw muscles even during campfire conversations about bad first kisses or anxiety medication.
Unlike most wilderness thrillers that focus on being lost out there with no phone reception, Significant Other’s characters are rarely concerned with where they are or where they need to be.
Ruth and Harry have no specific destination in mind beyond a nice looking spot, neither do they spend any time doing the usual ‘lost and desperate’ schtick. Their surroundings are instead an isolated setting that adds claustrophobia to impending danger.
The threat here is a singular one. Part body horror and part fear of the unknown, Significant Other masterfully keeps you dangling on the hook for long enough that once it does reel you in, the shock at being hoisted so hard was enough for this reviewer’s jaw to drop.
Significant Other Official Trailer
Is Significant Other Worth Watching?
Clearly, I am being very coy with my wording here. Like Barbarian, this is a movie that works best with the barest minimum of knowledge so that you can enjoy such cleverly paced and thought out scene beats fresh.
Characters are kept to a minimum: we will spend the vast majority of time with the same two faces. Harry’s sincerity is sweetened by a genuinely likeable presence by Lacy, even as he puts his foot in it and struggles to dampen the frustrations that come spilling out of his mouth.
Similarly. Ruth’s reserved nature is buttoned down nicely by Monroe as someone who struggles to contain her negativity but has been patiently taught to do so. We totally buy into their relationship both past and on screen, and we are with them as unforeseen circumstances reshape it.
Significant Other may be tight-lipped in the narrative, but a combination of pulsing score and delirious editing transitions mean that our other senses are given a treat.
Disorienting spinning trees morph into a whirlpool of twirling stars in one, and a streaming river bubbles into passing clouds in another. The techniques make this a visually satisfying movie to drink in both before and after the spilling of blood becomes a gloriously gory factor.
Chances are you might have missed Significant Other the first time around as it was dropped straight onto Paramount+ with little promotion or fanfare behind it.
It’s an undiscovered gem though, and one for which you should lace up your best walking boots, cast aside the map, and stride in with all due blindness.
Words by Mike Record
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