I Came By is not one’s typical home invasion movie. Hell, it isn’t even a real subversion a la 2016’s Don’t Breathe, but I Came By is just as dark. With an excellent cast that includes George MacKay (1917, Wolf), Hugh Bonneville (Paddington, To Olivia), Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, Merida in Brave), and Percelle Ascott, this crime thriller is masterfully executed. Filled with shocking twists and turns, I Came By is yet another stellar offering from Netflix that could be a perfect movie to watch with your feet up and a big bucket full of popcorn on your lap.
Toby (MacKay) and Jameel ‘Jay’ (Ascott) are a hunky duo who have been family friends for years—practically brothers—that spend their free time secretly tagging the homes of rich folks, and stealing a bunch of their shit. At the scene of their crimes, they leave an ominous message that makes their theft apparent: “I Came By.” After their latest, Jay announces to Toby that his girlfriend is pregnant. He cannot do any more missions with Toby for fear of ending up behind bars, and missing out on his unborn child’s life.
Toby’s frustrated therapist mom (Macdonald) tries her best to understand him, and to get him to help around the house, but Toby is so wrapped up in his cause that he neglects her. Toby sets his sights on Sir Hector Blake (Bonneville), a wealthy man with a mansion and countless connections. Blake, however, is hiding a shocking secret in his basement. Similar to Don’t Breathe’s Blind Man, Blake’s disturbing backstory and childhood trauma are eventually brought into the fray. As Toby’s interest becomes an obsession, Blake threatens to destroy everything he holds dear.
I have to say that several parts of I Came By completely caught me by surprise, which is quite the accomplishment with this kind of crime thriller. Blake is one awful man, so each person that becomes entangled in his web of horrors adds another fascinating layer on top. At points, the movie reminded me of The Vanishing, one of my personal favorite mystery/thriller movies. Macdonald and MacKay in particular are captivating as mother and son, so much so that I was rooting for them at every turn. While I Came By doesn’t quite stick the landing in nearly the same way, I still had a great time watching the unfurling mystery unfold thanks to impeccable tension-building from co-writer/director Babak Anvari.
I Came By invades your home when it debuts globally to Netflix on Wednesday, August 31st.