The Lie is an American-Canadian psychological horror film that was made in 2018 and just released on Prime Video in 2020. The (horrifying) story has gone viral on TikTok and people feel strongly about this movie. There will be spoilers in this article because they are necessary to discuss this movie. Please discontinue reading if you do not want this movie to be spoiled for you.
The plot of The Lie is about a girl named Kayla (Joey King) and her friend Britney (Devery Jacobs) who seem to be two normal high school girls with good families. While driving to a ballet retreat with her dad (Peter Sarsgaard), Kayla sees Britney at a bus stop and gets her dad to pick her up and give her a ride. On the way, the two convince Kayla’s father they need to stop and take a bathroom break in the woods. This is where things take a massive turn. If you haven’t seen the movie, please watch the trailer and then I will discuss the second half of the plot:
Kayla’s father hears a scream coming from the woods and races to find his daughter and her friend. When he finds Kayla, she is unsettlingly calm as she explains that the two got in an argument and she pushed Britney off a bridge and into a freezing river. She assumes Britney is now deceased.
After an unsuccessful search for Britney, Kayla and her father return home. Kayla’s parents argue, but eventually decide to cover up Kayla’s actions and allow Britney to become a missing person as they don’t believe there is any evidence of Kayla’s involvement and they don’t want her future to be ruined.
This decision seems easy at first, but Britney’s dad becomes convinced that Kayla and her parents know more than they are letting on. In order to keep Kayla from facing the consequences of her actions, her parents invent a story about Britney’s dad abusing his daughter and suggest that she ran away from home to escape the abuse or that he killed her. Kayla talks to the police and confirms that Britney’s dad hit her. Tensions escalate and eventually Britney’s dad is killed by Kayla’s parents to protect the secret.
Here’s where things get really unhinged.
The next day Britney arrives at Kayla’s house. It is revealed that Kayla and Britney planned the whole thing together so that Britney could spend the weekend with her boyfriend instead of at the ballet retreat. Kayla hoped that the event might also bring her divorced parents closer together again. The movie ends without telling us whether Kayla’s parents get away with murder.
Here is a very normal response to the end:
As you might guess, viewers and horror fans have a lot of feelings about this movie:
In the end, this wouldn’t have been a horror movie if our real life impulses weren’t so horror-filled. Our desire to survive and protect those we love is so strong, it might actually be more dangerous than the existence of sadistic psychopaths who can casually torture and innocent person to death. It turns out the problem here wasn’t the boogeyman we thought it was, just our every day human nature. It’s hard to tell if The Lie is a really good horror movie because it is so traumatizing to watch, or if it’s a cheap shot at the discomfort the director knows we’ll feel at the idea that it might be wrong to protect someone we love, especially our offspring.