Director David Koepp talks about the challenge of making internal mental states external

Kevin Bacon stars as a middle-aged man forced to face his demons in You Should Have Left, a dark psychological horror film from Universal, about a mysterious house in Wales that doesn’t seem to want to let its occupants leave. Tonally, it’s in a similar vein to The Others (2001) and The Shining (1980), with a dash of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) for good measure.

(Some minor spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

Co-produced by Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions, the film is adapted from a 2017 German novella of the same name by bestselling author Daniel Kehlman. It’s written in the first-person style of a diary belonging to an unnamed screenwriter attempting to write a sequel to an earlier hit film. With the studio pressuring him for a draft, he rents a house and takes his wife—an aging actress for whom work is becoming scarce—and four-year-old daughter on a long vacation in hopes of finishing the script.

As the screenplay develops, so do strange occurrences in the house, with the narrator reporting harrowing nightmares. Eventually the narrator finds it difficult to determine whether he is still dreaming or awake and finds a message in his handwriting telling him to “get away.”

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