Steven Soderbergh is a filmmaker who is known for being consistently interesting. He constantly pushes the envelope with his craft, whether hitting a home run with his directorial debut, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, writing and directing big-budget comedies like the Oceans 11 trilogy, or experimenting with making movies like Unsane, shot entirely on an iPhone. He's not afraid to reinvent himself or try something unexpected, which is precisely what he has done with his upcoming horror movie, Presence. According to early reports, the film had viewers walking out during its premiere, and it’s not for the reason you might expect. Honestly, I think it sounds like a terrifyingly revolutionary movie.
Presence is a supernatural thriller set for the 2024 movie schedule. The film revolves around the Payne family, a wealthy household dealing with various issues, including a mysterious presence that may either be friendly or hostile. Director Steven Soderbergh filmed the movie from the entity's perspective, and it recently premiered at Sundance. According to Variety, the film was so intense that some audience members left early to take a break. Even the cast was not immune to its horrific charm, as Lucy Liu, who plays the fictional family's matriarch, was alleged to have been visibly shaken after the screening. She said:
I’m just devastated. My body is having reactions as if I wasn’t in the movie.
Her co-star, West Mulholland, backed her up. He grabbed the mic at the Library Theatre and made it clear he was nothing like the murderous character he plays. He said:
I’m not like that.
I'm really hyped to watch the movie after reading the comments from the cast. The idea of something being so tense is actually exciting. 2024 is going to be another excellent year for horror movies.
One of the subplots in Presence revolves around Chloe (played by Callina Liang), who senses strange occurrences after moving into her new home. These are possibly linked to her late friend Nadia’s untimely death following an overdose. Items rearrange themselves, and a ghostly presence in her closet raises suspicions. Chloe's father, Chris (played by Chris Sullivan), suggests medication. In contrast, her distant mother, Rebekah (played by Lucy Liu), dismisses them, focusing instead on Chloe's brother, Tyler (played by Eddy Maday), who distances himself from his sister.
While the story may not be the most unique, what sets this movie apart is the way it's shot. As previously mentioned, the entire film was filmed from the point of view of the ghostly entity, which is groundbreaking and adds a unique twist to the movie. In a way, from behind the lens, Steven Soderbergh becomes the unseen lead of the flick.
The early response to the movie has been quite positive. Devan Coggan from Entertainment Weekly gave the movie an A- in her film coverage. She described the film as a tense character drama and a horrifying tale set in a single location, which will leave a long-lasting impression on audiences who dare to watch it until the end.
According to New York and Vulutre film critic Bilge Ebiri, the upcoming movie is Steven Soderbergh's best work in recent times. He says in his write-up, “The movie is an art film that also works as a spellbinding horror film.” Based on early reactions like these, it seems like this movie could become one of the biggest horror movies of the year, and I'm so here for it.
It's still yet to be confirmed whether Presence will be released widely in theaters or if it will be available for streaming immediately, similar to some of the director's previous films. We'll be keeping an eye on any developments on the matter. In the meantime, you can watch the filmmaker's other popular movies, such as No Sudden Move, The Informant and Magic Mike's Last Dance, which are all available to stream with a Max subscription.