LOS ANGELES, June 19 (UPI) -- A haunted house might be the second scariest thing in You Should Have Left. Stars Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried felt their characters' troubles were enough for a horror movie even before they moved in.
Theo (Bacon) and Susanna (Seyfried) move with their daughter, Ella (Avery Tiiu Essex), to a house in Wales. The house is full of creepy hallways and dark corners, and it has supernatural powers.
"If you didn't have the jump scares and the supernatural element or whatever that outside force happens to be, there would still be an interesting thing to play," Bacon told UPI in a Zoom interview Tuesday.
Susanna is Theo's second wife. His first drowned in the bathtub, leading many people to believe Theo killed her, even though he was cleared. Susanna is an actor whose love scenes make Theo jealous.
"I love a good destroyed marriage story," Seyfried told UPI. "Playing that complexity between a man and his wife and watching them try to negotiate that around a child is just fascinating because it's real."
The house gets involved in some of their troubles. It leaves messages, including scribbling "You should have left" in Theo's notebook. For Seyfried, the secrets both characters kept were deadly.
"The horror movie for me was the train wreck of a marriage or the secrets," she said. "It was the secrets, wasn't it, that really came to haunt them in a bigger way?"
One of Bacon's first movies was the original Friday the 13th. In his career, he's periodically appeared in horror movies like Flatliners, Tremors, Stir of Echoes, Hollow Man and The Darkness.
"When you've done as many movies as I have, you end up in a lot of genres," Bacon laughed. "It's not like I kind of set out and say, 'You know, time for a horror movie.'"
There is a similarity in all of Bacon's post-Friday the 13th horror efforts, though. Bacon prefers horror derived from the characters rather than racking up the body count.
"I'm really more drawn to movies like You Should Have Left that are scary, but character-driven and emotional." he said.
Theo's fears make him vulnerable to the house's manipulations. The age difference between Theo and Susanna makes him paranoid. In real life, Bacon is 61 and Seyfried is 34. When Theo visits her movie set, a grip mistakes him for Susanna's father.
Bacon said Theo is dealing with more than just insecurity. He also feels left out by the way Susanna communicates, using modern technology better than he can.
"[Susanna] is almost of a different generation in terms of her use of the phone and texting," Bacon said.
Their daughter, Ellen, triggers other fears in Theo, Bacon said. Being a new father in his 60s has some physical limitations.
"[At that age,] you may be even too creaky in your body to want to get down on the floor and play blocks and deal with this child," Bacon said. "He's trying to figure that out and navigate that."
Susanna's story dealt with some fears Seyfried faces as a professional too. She empathized with Susanna being at a point in her career when filmmakers pressured her to do love scenes.
"She's somebody who doesn't want to do those types of sex scenes anymore," Seyfried said. "They're treating it like it's another day at work which it isn't."
Although she performed the film's tasteful love scenes to make the point, the performance helped Seyfried realize she wants to take a stand in her career.
"I don't want to play those roles anymore and I don't have to," Seyfried said. "For any character to go through the same thing the actor is going through is a good performance therapy in some ways."
Seyfried was concerned, however, that Susanna's skills as an actor helped her keep secrets from Theo and Ella.
"She's a really good liar," Seyfried said. "I try to find the truth in everything. In that way, it's really hard for me to tell anything but the truth in my real life, down to something really tiny."
You Should Have Left is available Friday on video-on-demand.