Although it’s technically not a scary movie, there’s something deeply unsettling about White Lie, a 2019 release from Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. I just discovered it recently – hence the review – and in a way, it’s haunted me. The premise is fictional, but executed very believably: a girl fakes having cancer so she can get sympathy money, but the lie starts to unravel when she needs to prove it with medical records.
Except, without getting into spoilers, the lie doesn’t truly unravel, so much as tread water indefinitely. It’s an uneasy watch, because the protagonist, played expertly by Kacey Rohl, is beyond sociopathic in the way she manipulates people and keeps the deception alive. The only character who seems remotely aware of her scheming is her father, played by Martin Donovan (under-rated and fantastic as always). But even he is no match for her desperately escalating tactics as she ruthlessly targets him and anyone else who questions her.
In many ways, the film plays like a warning guide: here are the signs of somebody who’s trying to scam you, and here are the back-up plans they have in their arsenal should you question them. And unfortunately, it’s easy for them to get away with it in our disconnected, ‘post-truth’ modern world – even when something is objectively a lie. It may not be Halloween material, but sometimes, real life is scarier than fiction.