Shot to resemble a lost grindhouse relic, the freaky home-invasion thriller “Caught” overcomes the genre’s clichés thanks to a retro style and sharp hook. Where other movies portray their invaders as psychopathic forces of evil, “Caught” keeps the true nature of its villains a mystery, aiming to hold the audience in curious suspense.
Mickey Sumner and Rubin Crow play Julie and Andrew, a pair of married journalists who live in the English countryside with their two kids in 1972. After spotting what appears to be a secret military installation on a nearby moor, the couple gets a visit from “Mr. and Mrs. Blair” (Cian Barry and April Pearson), who speak in broken English and make increasingly violent, hard-to-understand demands.
Are the Blairs aliens? Demons? Something else? Whatever they are, the longer they’re in the house, the more they begin to physically and mentally deteriorate — as conveyed by some marvelously disgusting makeup effects.
Director Jamie Patterson and screenwriters Dave Allsop and Alex Francis get a lot of mileage out of their antagonists’ weird speech patterns and uncertain origins. “Caught” hits the usual beats, but with an unusually strong cast and original characters.
The filmmakers are ultimately too coy about what’s really up with the Blairs. Yet “Caught” is still effectively gripping, from start to finish. If this movie had been released in the early ’70s, it would probably be a cult favorite today.
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
Playing: AMC Universal Citywalk 19; also on VOD