THE TUTOR is a new mystery thriller with solid performances from an intriguing cast. Unfortunately, it’s let down by the overall storytelling. The actual story is interesting enough, but it feels choppy and the twists are easily spotted. Read our full The Tutor movie review here!

THE TUTOR is a mystery thriller that should be a lot better than this end result. There are moments of eerie creepiness where the actors really shine. However, the overt use of red herrings and trying to steer our attention in one direction while giving hints to another isn’t nearly as efficient as it could have been. Or should have been.

This is an example of a movie being let down by the way it’s told. The overall storytelling rather than the story is the problem. Or, to be fair, maybe the story isn’t that strong either, but the cast lifts it up while the cuts from one moment or scene to the next feel very brutal. Rather than telling a story, it’s just pieces of a puzzle told scene by scene, but with no natural transition.

Continue reading our The Tutor movie review below. Find it in theaters from March 24, 2023.

Let down by the choppy storytelling

The plot of The Tutor is very simple; We follow a tutor (Garrett Hedlund), who has a pregnant girlfriend and is offered a tutoring gig that pays very well. To begin with, he just needs to stay at a mansion for one week with his new student (Noah Schnapp).

Once there, our tutor finds himself struggling with the obsessions of his student. Now, that part of the official plot does feel quite forced as it plays out. From the time these two meet to when the tutor states “he’s obsessed with me” felt very strong and sudden to me.

However, then comes the next part where the student threatens to expose certain secrets. This is more interesting and gets quite dark. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still very choppy storytelling that makes the story weaker than it is.

Perhaps it’s nothing more than a different take on the editing that could’ve made for a stronger movie. All the pieces are there and yet, somehow, the sum is less than what the parts should make it. I tried to stay positive due to the performances from the cast, but I just could not keep making excuses for the choppy storytelling.

The Tutor (2023) – Review | Mystery Thriller

A strong cast makes this worth watching

The performances in The Tutor are exactly why you should still check it out. Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) is intriguing and often quite unlikeable in the titular role. Ethan (Garrett Hedlund) is definitely a good tutor, but as a friend or romantic partner, he leaves a lot to be desired. Especially when he drinks. Which he does. Quite a lot!

As the young and privileged student, Jackson, we have Noah Schnapp. Yes, little Will Byers from Stranger Things has grown into a young man. And yet, that very same heart and pain Noah Schnapp taps into so perfectly in Stranger Things is exactly what also makes Jackson such an intriguing character.

For the record, except for Jackson looking familiar, I did not think of Will Byers at all. For Noah Schnapp, this is a strong break-out role of a more adult (or young adult) variety.

Other key roles in The Tutor are portrayed by Victoria Justice (Afterlife of the Party),  Ashritha Kancharla, Matt Borlenghi, and Jonny Weston (Project Almanac).

Watch The Tutor in theaters or later on VOD!

Jordan Ross is the director of The Tutor with the screenplay written by Ryan King. This is the second feature film for Jordan Ross as a director after his feature film debut with the crime thriller Thumper in 2017. A movie he both wrote and directed.

For Ryan King, this is his feature film debut as a writer. Actually, it’s his debut as a writer, full stop. He does, however, already have another feature film in post-production, so we’ll get more from him soon. A rather big “thing” as he co-wrote the script (based on a novel) for Black Flies starring Katherine Waterston, Sean Penn, and Tye Sheridan. To name just a few.

Sometimes, though rarely, a movie almost feels too short. That might be the case for The Tutor. It’s definitely not slow-burn and we have quite a few characters to get familiar with. Both present and past. But we’re barely scratching the surface until that final reveal – which you just might guess quite early on.

The Tutor is out in Theaters on March 24, 2023. It will be out exclusively on DirectTV on April 11, and on VOD on May 9.

Details

Director: Jordan Ross
Writer: Ryan King
Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Victoria Justice, Jonny Weston, Noah Schnapp

Plot

An in-demand tutor for the East Coast monied elite, Ethan (Garrett Hedlund) lands a high-paying assignment to instruct a billionaire’s son, Jackson (Noah Schnapp), at a remote New York waterfront estate. Almost immediately, Ethan realizes that his student’s interest in his life borders upon obsession. As tension grows, Jackson’s accusations threaten to expose Ethan’s perceived dark secrets to his girlfriend (Victoria Justice) and the authorities. As sentiment turns against Ethan, it is up to him, and only him, to unearth Jackson’s accusations and prove his innocence.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard