In 2020, at the height of my COVID anxiety, I read a little novella by Max Booth called WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING.  Sometimes, when I am not doomscrolling, I read to wind myself down in order to fall asleep.  I flipped to the first page of this book after midnight and did not stop until I reached its powerful ending a couple of hours later.   

Despite my delirium, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING became one of my favorite reads from a year that otherwise had few things I could call “favorites.” The entire time I read the story I thought to myself, “this would be a fantastic film in the right hands.” 

The NEXT day, Max Booth announced that he had finished the adapted screenplay. Not long after that, it was revealed that Spin a Black Yarn, a production team that includes Josh Malerman (Bird Box), had begun work on the film. 

First things first: this film is fantastic.  

Readers of the novella will immediately recognize the dedication of the filmmaking team (Director, Sean King O’Grady, Cinematographer, Jean-Philippe Bernier, Music, David Chapdelaine) and cast that brings Booth’s story to life on the screen. 

The film opens with a fantastically eerie bird’s eye-tracking shot over a residential area that slowly tilts up to reveal a massive storm while tornado sirens blend weave in a droning set of symphonic strings.  It’s a dread-inducing shot that leads to the central location of the story: a bathroom.  That’s right, a bathroom.

And what a bathroom it is.  

In this story about a family of four that was already on the verge of destruction prior to the storm, the bathroom is essentially the 5th cast member. The literal storm that kicks off the film, trapping them inside, is a nice metaphor for what was brewing beneath the surface.  After a year+ where we were all trapped in various stages of lockdowns, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING is a cathartic and darkly comedic look at the chaos of family dynamics, friendships, and relationships.

Despite the ugliness that erupts on screen throughout its 97 min run time, Jean-Philippe Bernier’s work behind the camera is beautiful.  The film relies on soft focusing, low contrast, and a red tinted color grade.  It’s hypnotic.  O’Grady, the director, deftly lines up a variety of unique compositions from the films primary location which never get stale.  There’s a recurring shot where the camera is placed behind a bathtub (which becomes very important) and frames the family in various states as they deal with the slow realization that they may not escape…and they may not want to.  

Pat Healy (Starry Eyes, The Innkeepers) always shines and he is incredible here. His performance is nuanced in so many ways, when I return for a second viewing, that is the only thing I will be paying attention to. The rest of the cast is perfect, too.  

Be sure to check out this film when it hits VOD in September.  There is one scare in particular (from an amazing cameo) that viewers will be talking about for a long time.      

It’s funny.  I finished watching this film a few hours ago thanks to the “Tribeca at Home” screening and I find myself writing this review, after midnight, in a state of delirium.  Once again, the first time I read WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING I thought to myself, “this would be a fantastic film in the right hands.” 

I can confirm, the film landed in the right hands. 

Donnie Goodman

Donnie Goodman


Donnie Goodman is a reader, writer, and collector of horror fiction. He runs the bookstagram page and YouTube show, "The Horror Hypothesis" and writes book reviews for SCREAM! Magazine. When he is not out in the wild, searching for Paperbacks From Hell in Central Virginia, he is likely reading, writing, or playing video games. His first collection, THE RAZORBLADES IN MY HEAD, is out now. 

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