Presence: A Ghostly Tour Through Soderbergh’s Cinematic Vantage Point

Los Angeles, CA – “Presence,” a ghost story directed by Steven Soderbergh, takes viewers on an immersive journey through the eyes of an unseen spirit. Set inside a beautiful renovated suburban home, the film captivates with its voyeuristic camera perspective, showcasing every nook and cranny of the house. However, despite its fancy camera moves, the paranormal activity in “Presence” remains minimal.

Soderbergh, known for his inventive filmmaking style, shoots the entire movie in long, roving takes that mimic the ghost’s point of view. The camera glides from room to room, allowing the audience to appreciate the meticulous details of the vintage decor. Yet, the ghostly presence is not the main source of scares in this film.

Instead, “Presence” delves into the complexities of a troubled family. Rebecca, the controlling matriarch portrayed by Lucy Liu, is determined to secure a new home in a coveted school district for her teenage son. However, beneath the surface of a seemingly perfect family, lies a web of secrets and dysfunction. Chloe, Rebecca’s daughter, is haunted not only by the ghostly presence but also by the recent death of her best friend due to a drug overdose.

While the ghost’s actions occasionally tease at the promise of more supernatural thrills, the film primarily focuses on the human drama unfolding within the family. Soderbergh, shooting under the pseudonym Peter Andrews, showcases his flair for unique storytelling but falls short of delivering a truly chilling ghost story.

The performances in “Presence” shine, with standout acting from the entire cast. Calliana Liang portrays Chloe’s despair, while Liu embodies the tightly wound troublemaker, always hiding something beneath her scheming demeanor. Chris Sullivan brings a sense of desperation to the role of the beleaguered father, highlighting the breakdown of communication within the family.

In its attempt to flirt with topical issues such as teen mental illness and the rise of serial killers, “Presence” only scratches the surface. The film hints at deeper themes but ultimately amounts to another half-diverting, half-satisfying entry in Soderbergh’s body of work.

“Presence” offers a visually captivating experience and a compelling exploration of family dynamics, but falls short of delivering the expected scares of a traditional ghost story. Soderbergh’s stylistic choices lend a unique perspective, yet the minimal paranormal activity leaves audiences yearning for more.