Haunted Painting Claims Next Victim In Harrowing Psychological Thriller, Stream Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Published

The Portrait is one of those movies streaming on Tubi that I’m surprised didn’t have a proper theatrical release despite its positive critical reception. Leaning into a bare-bones screenplay with only a handful of central characters, Simon Ross’ directorial debut is your classic possession story.

The Portrait

The protagonist’s mental state is called into question after a series of strange events occur throughout the night, when the only witness is going through an existential crisis of her own. We’ve all seen stories like this play out over the decades, but I’ve yet to see one that draws inspiration from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray so effectively.

Set in a large beach-side gothic manor, The Portrait centers on Sofia (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), a woman grieving over her husband’s hopeless brain damage diagnosis. Sofia’s husband, Alex (Ryan Kwanten) is functionally mute and a shell of his former self after getting into an accident that requires him to have a caretaker.

Incredible Guilt

Having reason to believe that she can still reach the old Alex, Sofia brings him to the mansion where he lived as a child, hoping that a familiar setting might trigger his oldest memories and cause him to regain his faculties. 

Sofia, who feels that she could have prevented Alex’s accident in The Portrait, is consumed with guilt. And she also feels a considerable amount of pressure because the doctors who had treated Alex previously gave up on providing treatment before the events that take place in the movie.

A Terrifying Self-Portrait

the portrait movie

One night after indulging in a few too many adult beverages, Sofia makes her way to the attic and discovers a “self-portrait” that was painted by a man named Calvin DuBose, who looks identical to Alex.

And we’re not talking about relatives who look somewhat similar, as Calvin is the spitting image of Alex, even though the portrait was signed and dated back in 1937. 

Some Familiar Thriller Territory

the portrait movie

After discovering the portrait, we’re taken into the same familiar territory that most psychological thriller movies occupy.

But in this case, even though Sofia is clearly at her wit’s end, Alex’s behavior becomes increasingly unhinged each time she inspects the drawing, and in a way that affects the groundskeeper, Brookes (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), and a local police officer.

In other words, Sofia may not be in the best mental state, but the portrait’s presence is also having some sort of unexplained influence over whoever encounters it, validating her fears to some degree.

A Worthy Addition

the portrait movie

At the end of the day, The Portrait isn’t necessarily an original movie, but it’s a worthy addition to the psychological thriller sub-genre.

Natalia Cordova-Buckley’s ability to run the emotional gamut as a grieving woman trying her best to save her husband while fighting off her own demons (personal or supernatural) makes for a stellar performance on her part, and I’ll be sure to work my way through her filmography because she clearly understood the assignment in this film. 

Streaming The Portrait

the portrait movie


I was thoroughly impressed by how The Portrait took a common movie premise and successfully did its own thing with it. Psychodramas are a dime a dozen, but if done right are still effective and worth checking out. While some of the audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes criticized The Portrait for not being an in-your-face thriller, I have to disagree with them because that’s not the point of this movie at all. 

Sometimes, a slow-burn psychological thriller is all you need in your life, and The Portrait, which you can stream for free on Tubi, is a perfect example of one.