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Home > I Came By (2022): A Review

I Came By (2022): A Review

I Came By

A Young Graffiti Rebel Breaks Into a Wealthy Elitist’s Home to Discover a Disturbing Secret.


The British film I Came By (2022) is one of the better psychological thrillers released in recent years. The viewer follows the story’s protagonist, Toby. Toby and his best friend since kindergarten, Jay, swept the media with their graffiti art. The two would anonymously break into extremely wealthy people’s homes – without robbing or stealing – and quickly leave after spray painting a mural in their living rooms with their catchphrase, “I Came By.” Their art aimed to intimidate elitists, letting them know the lower class dislikes and targeting them and the entire system. After Jay discovers his girlfriend is pregnant, he resigns the graffiti mission – leaving it all up to Toby. Stubborn and driven Toby continues their mission and enters an ex-judge, Hector Blake’s, home. Toby’s original goal of leaving a frightening message on Hector Blake’s wall quickly took a turn when Toby finds Blake’s disturbing secret in his basement. The audience roots for Toby while watching the secrets kept by the upper class unfold in hopes that Blake will finally fall to his demise after years of keeping a fake facade. 

Is I Came By (2022) a Good or Bad Film?  

The film itself keeps its viewers hooked. Its plot was action-packed, with multiple plot twists throughout the film, not just at the end. The viewer is constantly at the edge of their seat while viewing Hector Blake’s repetitive excuses and connections to the police force, resulting in his being labeled as an ‘innocent’ man. Although the result of Hector Blake’s fate is unknown until the end of the film while having a slow and gradual reveal, the film feels very fast-paced due to its subplots, actions in almost every scene, and its overall building dialect. Because the film often switches its protagonist (those going after the film’s antagonist, Hector Blake), it feels like a limited series following Hector Blake’s crimes along with those admonishing him. Yet, it is a full-length feature film. Its fast-paced rising plots make it easy for the audience to pay attention the entire film.

I Came By (2022) has a tone that switches between eerie and dark. It shifts between the perspective of life lived by the lower class, and a bright and normal tone, representing the perspective of life lived by the elitists. These tones demonstrate the perfect contrast of life in the lower class versus life in the upper class, making each perspective feel ordinary to its viewer. 

Do We Like the Characters?

The film follows different characters, who all have a relation to Toby, and how they plan on exposing Hector Blake and his disgusting and disturbing secret. Toby is an angsty twenty-three-year-old who still lives with his mom. Because of his negative treatment towards his mother and best friend, Jay, Toby has many unlikeable qualities that, in a sense, balance out his good qualities of helping the poor. Toby’s act of kindness towards the lower class stems from his bitterness towards the world, which he releases upon wealthy career men. Because of his unlikable traits, the film focuses on his mother and her attempt to keep Toby safe. Toby’s mother, Liz, becomes dedicated to exposing Hector Blake, and Jay later joins. Both Liz and Jay are much more likable than Toby, even though Toby’s passion is the reason for Liz and Jay’s involvement.

The viewer cannot help but sympathize with all characters (including Toby) for a classic feel of satisfaction if/when the ‘bad guy’ is caught. Each actor did a terrific job playing their role. Toby was an annoyingly passionate rebel who hated rich people – his emotion of frustration was perfectly displayed along with his bothersome qualities of adolescence in a grown man’s body. He always had an attitude when speaking with his hardworking mother, although he often left messes for her to clean up. Toby was also not a good friend to Jay. This is demonstrated in his behaviors when Jay annoucnes he would soon be a father.

Liz and Jay also delivered stellar performances. Liz was a stereotypical mother worried for her child, losing her mind for her son’s safety and whereabouts. Jay’s character seemed minor at the film’s beginning. This was because he wanted to abort his graffiti missions with Toby after discovering his partner was with child. However, he became more relevant later in the film. Jay’s emotion of guilt, worry, and concern grows stronger the deeper the story gets. And his notable acting style is validated when his character finally breaks down at the end. 


I Came By

Graffiti and its Cultural Significance 

Besides the hooking plot, I Came By (2022) uses the art of graffiti to explain the cultural significance of how it started. Graffiti can often be labeled as vandalism in the eyes of many when it is an art form for the lower class – reminding everyone else that they have talents, ideals, and motives just like the wealthier classes. Toby and Jay both participate in the art of graffiti to spread their message and to retract the power that is held by the rich. Graffiti has had a bad reputation for years stemming from wealth and judgment, constructing Toby and Jay’s reasoning for their mission to spread and make others acknowledge their existence.

The overall cinematography of the film was well-done and projected graffiti as its genuine form of art with a message rather than a ‘ghetto’ vandalism tactic.

You Should Watch! 

I Came By (2022) does a terrific job depicting the battle between the upper and lower class in a psychological thriller film. The plot and dialogue constantly build the story, forcing the viewer’s to be glued to Toby and those around him. Unlike current horror films, I Came By (2022) does not use blood and gore to shock its audience – the feeling of shock derives from the general story itself. The story has very normal and relatable aspects (the characters, setting, the dialogue), generating more surprise when disturbing actions occur. The film did an amazing job of provoking emotions within the audience, especially with its satisfying and drawn-out climax. I Came By (2022) is streaming on Netflix and is available to all its subscribers. It is a must-watch if one enjoys suspenseful films – or British accents! Cheerio!

I Came By

I Came By (2022). Official Netflix Trailer

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Nora C. Merritt
Nora Merritt is studying Writing for Film, Television, and Emerging Media at Ithaca College. She has been involved in the film industry since the age of fourteen, working on many different film sets, including Netflix’s series, Ozark. Her passionate and strong writing style entertains her readers.