Movie Review: A House on the Bayou (2021)

Synopsis: After learning her husband, John, is having an affair with one of his students, a real estate agent, Jessica, decides not to divorce him and, instead, insists they take a vacation to Louisiana with their 14-year-old daughter, Anna, and stay in a remote mansion she has been assigned to sell. On their first day there, they meet Isaac and his grandfather, who offer to prepare dinner for them. Jessica and John accept but quickly learn the pair aren't what they seem and their lives may be in danger.

Who's in it?  The movie stars Angela Sarafyan, Paul Schneider, Lia McHugh, Jacob Lofland and Doug Van Liew.

Review: I came across this movie a few weeks ago and, while I never officially added it to my library, kept it in the back of my mind as a possibility if we couldn't find anything else to watch. I finally decided to watch it with my wife last night and the film ended up exceeding my expectations.

I think the thing I like best about this movie is the mystery surrounding Isaac (Lofland) and Grandpappy (Van Liew). It is immediately apparent there is something different about Isaac. Not only is he able to pull off magic tricks like lighting candles with his fingers, he seems to have an intimate knowledge of what is happening between Jessica (Sarafyan) and John (Schneider). Not to mention, his timing was way too good to be coincidental, including showing up at their door offering to cook dinner in their house the second they decided not to take up an invitation to go to Isaac's house.

Grandpappy was even more intriguing because it was hard to get a read on him. There were times when he seemed afraid of Isaac and willing to help the family as a result but, at the same time, he was quick to point a gun at them and prevent their escape. He also proves, at one point, that he is more than capable of murder.

Also adding some intrigue to this movie was the way John's affair seemed to be the main motivation for Isaac appearing in their lives. Since it was obvious Jessica and John's relationship was falling apart (possibly before she found out about the affair), I wondered, from the first few minutes into the movie, if one of them was the mastermind behind all of it, possibly to murder their spouse. As it turns out, I wasn't completely wrong with that theory, though there was a lot more to it than that.

I am a bit undecided about the ending, mostly because the explanation given about who Isaac and Grandpappy were didn't quite explain their actions. I mean, there was no doubt John had what was coming to him and it's possible Jessica wasn't completely innocent either. However, I find it very hard to believe Anna (McHugh) wasn't anything but an innocent victim who was being just as tortured as her parents. Not to mention, what happened to the beloved family cat, Toby? He just disappeared and nobody seemed to notice.  However, since I liked the movie overall, I guess I'll give the ending a pass.

Final Opinion: This was an intriguing movie with a few interesting twists and quite a bit of suspense. It's worth taking the time to watch, in my opinion. 

My Grade: A


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