Lights Out

Be aware of things that lurk in the dark…

If, like me, you are afraid of both the dark and mannequins you will pretty much be done in by the opening sequence. If they’d also included spiders I probably would have walked out… Anyway ‘Lights Out’ is a feature film adaptation of a rather successful short film (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOI4bJ0-IrY). On the whole it is a very effective horror movie, utilising old-fashioned fears and old-fashioned scares to great effect.

Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left the family home a long time ago. She now lives in an apartment on her own, far away from her mother Sophie (Maria Bello) and half-brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman). She’s been dating Bret (Alexander DiPersia) for eight months but struggles with the concept that he is her ‘boyfriend’ – these issues with relationships stem from her turbulent past with her mother that lead her to leave home as soon as she could. Several months have past since the mysterious death of her step-father Paul (Billy Burke) when her brother gets back in touch. It appears their mother, who has a history of mental illness, is struggling again. But when Martin explains some of the strange ongoings in the house, including their mother talking to a friend called Diane when she is actually talking to herself  and strange things being seen in the dark, Rebecca becomes desperate to unlock the truth and soon comes face-to-face with a terror that haunts the shadows. 

Horror is not exactly one of my favourite genres. Honest admission time: I’m easily scared by some of the most ridiculous things and really don’t take pleasure from being scared. Attending this preview screening at The Soho Hotel (which genuinely has the fanciest toilets in London, a comment unrelated to the fact I saw a horror film there!) seemed like a stupid notion, especially as I was going on my own, and yet I went. And I actually really enjoyed the film. Admittedly I clutched the armrest of my chair  (very comfy/fancy seat I hasten to add!) for the entire running time and watched a good third of the movie through my fingers…yet I was somewhat surprised at how much I appreciated the film. Impressively for all the terror I felt I underwent I laughed a lot to, with the film not at it. It easily passed the six laugh test with intentional gags.

At just under 90 minutes long it’s taut, no time is wasted on unnecessary scenes or information. The pacing is strong and unrelenting. The story itself takes familiar tropes of horror films (‘Don’t go in the basement!’ ‘Why are you going on your own?!?’ etc.) and plays around with them. Some moments do not surprise and some moments really do. Whilst there are some rather obvious elements to the story, and a rather problematic use of mental illness to explain character behaviours/story, there is enough freshness to everything that make these issues less jarring.

This is also helped by some excellent acting by the cast. The central trio are definitely three actors to look out for. Eleven year old Bateman, playing Martin, is fantastic as one of the leads. He conveys an excellent amount of emotion and really holds his own amongst the cast. Palmer as Rebecca was certainly convincing balancing her desperate need to know with an adequate amount of logic and cynicism. DiPersia as her boyfriend was a magnetic presence on the screen and suitably charming. The only issues I had with their ‘relationship’ was the obviousness of their characters – both being dressed in black, her music choices and the themes of the posters decorating her apartment. It felt obvious what they were trying to say about her character and yet needless as this an element of the story that was not explored. Maria Bello did a good job with what she was given, although it felt undermined by the flawed use of mental illness to explain away her character and certain elements of the story.

And then there’s Diana, our villain of the story. Having a villain who can only appear in the dark is an inventive idea, one that is used to great and very effective effect. The places that she manages to pop up in..! And then there’s the noises we quickly come to associate with her – whenever she approaches the noise of fingers against a chalkboard pierces the air. Then, when she makes an attack, her roar (she literally roars) it’s actually really terrifying! Most of my deciding to watch some scenes through my fingers came from those noises. My only problem with her as a villain as how undefined her powers were, she seems to suddenly have a skill for every means and possess multiple superpowers. These skills come with no explanation or discussion and soon become convenient rather than believable. And yet she still managed to unnerve me so greatly I did sleep the following night with my bedside lamp on. Just in case.

‘Lights Out’ is a more than solid horror movie, providing thrills and chills within a neat less than 90 minute running. A great way to spent the evening watching, then much of the night trying to forget!

stars

‘Lights Out’ is in UK cinemas from August 19th. 

 

Ghostbusters

Bustin’ makes me feel good!

I love Ghostbusters (1984). I even love Ghostbusters 2 (1989). I now say loudly and proudly that I love Ghostbusters (2016). Whether it’s a reboot you wanted and whether it’s a reboot you thought necessary, well, it’s here. And it’s great. Just because it’s rebooted doesn’t mean the original does not exist – it’s still there if you want it – but the new film does a fantastic job of bringing the ghostbusters to the 21st Century and hopefully inspiring younger generations. I’m not going to comment any further on the (needless) controversy surrounding the film, except the villain of the film is a ‘weirdo’ loner millennial male who hides behind technology rather than humanity, who thrives on negativity and rejects modernity – few villains have been so well-timed and apt…

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Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a scientist and lecturer at Columbia university. She’s extremely close to getting tenure there, a job for life, when both that and her academic reputation is put under threat by an old friend re-entering her life. Years earlier she and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) wrote a book on the existence of paranormal phenomenon. Erin walked away from the book and Abby. Abby has put the book back on sale and has continued to work in investigating the paranormal, now working alongside  Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). When Erin goes to Abby to persuade her to take the book off the market she gets swept back into her old line of work when ghosts start to appear all over New York. The trio are soon joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and the four of them make up the Ghostbusters, ‘aided’ by the world’s worst secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).

I really enjoyed watching this film. Hooked in from the first scene – which featured Zach Woods aka ‘Jared’ from Silicon Valley – I laughed. A lot. The film is centered on feel-good and it’s a watching experience that is really uplifting – spirit raising in more than one way (sorry-not-sorry for the pun!) Deciding to make the film, yet another reboot some of you may cry, probably was an easy decision for the studios. But, considering the aforementioned controversy  (which I will discuss no further, promise) it required director Paul Feig and his cast to be fearless. And they really are!

Watching the film is a truly enjoyable experience for on many layers and for many reasons. Some are saying the film is ‘safe’ or ‘not enough’ – I personally think it’s a step in the right direction. An entry-point update of a classic which can be pushed further with the next in the franchise (which is the same criticism most gave of The Force Awakens no..?) And, arguably, this film does better than TFA at blending the old with the new. The ‘old’ doesn’t detract attention here. It doesn’t distill the zeitgeist with nostalgia. Instead Ghostbusters has nods to the past whilst being fun, funny and full of energy. Much of this is down to the cast, whom there is not a weak link amongst- all are extraordinarily brilliant in their own ways

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. Wiig as Erin is probably the closest I’ve ever seen a cinematic version of myself; a woman driven by logic who totally loses all rationale around her passion (the paranormal) and attractive members of the opposite sex  (Kevin). Her journey kick-starts the film and then drives it to the end as she rediscovers what she truly believes in  and who the people that truly matter to her are. Best line: Books can’t fly and neither can babies!

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Melissa Mccarthy = comedy gold. No matter the film she still manages to sparkle and steal most of the scenes she is in. This film is no exception. Abby is classic Mccarthy character, a joy to watch and laugh with/at. Her timing is immaculate whether that be swapping lines or kicking ghost-ass. Best line: I will kick the the unliving crap out of you and you and especially you! 

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I hadn’t really heard of Leslie Jones prior to her casting in Ghostbusters (sorry Leslie in the unlikelihood you ever read this!) but she’s definitely a comedian I will be checking out. Not only is she a fellow tall lady (we’re both six feet tall) but her facial expressions are hilarious and her delivery of lines is beyond on point. I know there has been a lot of discussion over the fact she is the only non-scientist of the group but her character is very well-presented, she’s just as smart as the others but in a different yet no less important way. Best line: I guess he’s going to Queens – he’s going to be the third scariest thing on that train.

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If I really had to choose my favourite Ghostbuster (and that’s only if, to paraphrase The Princess Bride, death was on the line) I’d have to pick Jillian. Kate McKinnon is a truly magnetic performer, every scene she featured in I found myself drawn into watching her. She brings a crazily wonderful energy to the role and creates a fantastically memorable character. Also, her lip syncing ‘Rhythm of the Night’ by Debarge caused me to have many unexpected feelings… Best line: Just try saying no to these salty parabolas!

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I have to also briefly mention Chris Hemsworth as Kevin. Not only is the man the physical embodiment of human perfection he is also utterly hilarious (is there no justice in the world?!?). Everything he says is funny, and you have to stay during the closing credits for his dance number. Best line: An aquarium is a submarine for fish.

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All in all, I loved Ghostbusters. It may even be one of my most enjoyable film watching experiences of the year so far. It’s a feelgood classic in the making and a whole lotta fun to watch. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

4 stars

 

Tale Of Tales

A twisted take on twisted tales

I bloody loved this film. It has everything I love in one place- fairytale s (the dark kind), kings & queens, tricks & spells, deals & plots, oaths & secrets, love & betrayal and tales of the unexpected. It’s all told so well, with so much love and care, with everything looking absolutely gorgeous. Last week I criticized Alice Through The Looking Glass for many things (see my review here)  but the main one was for being a ‘film which feels like it was made by people who read a book called ‘Pretending To Be Weird For Dummies”. Those ‘people’ need to go see this because this is how you do it. If you’re looking for strange, dark and morbidly entertaining tales then look no more!

The Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) is desperate to have a child but everything she and her husband (John C. Reilly) try fails to work. When a mysterious stranger, a necromancer (Franco Pistoni), visits the castle he offers a risky solution. They need to find a sea monster, kill it and then have its heart cooked by a virgin which the Queen must eat. She will fall instantly pregnant. The necromancer warning that this will be at the cost of a life – a warning the Queen ignores. 

The King of Highhills (Toby Jones) befriends a flea that appears to be able to follow instructions. A friendship soon blossoms and the flea grows and grows. When the now extremely and unbelievably large flea dies the King uses  the flea’s skin as part of a game – whoever can guess the what animal the skin belonged to will get to marry his only daughter. Such a shame for Princess Violet (Bebe Cave) that it’s an ogre who guesses correctly. 

The sex-obsessed King of Strongcliff (Vincent Cassel) hears the voice of an angel whilst prowling his kingdom. He pursues the voice and demands to seduce her, not knowing the voice belong to an elderly woman Dora (Hayley Carmichael) who lives with her equally elderly sister Imma (Shirley Henderson). Dora intends to lead the King along, knowing that she is putting her’s and her sister’s life in danger. A chance meeting with a witch provides her heart’s greatest desire – but is it too good to be true?

That’s only the beginning of each tale. There’s so much more for you to see – so much of which is unexpected, some of which is slightly scary, and all of which is a true pleasure to watch. It’s a feast for the eyes, the brain and the heart. The performances are all solid and utterly believable. There’s depth within each character, a reason and motivation rooted in their decisions. Hayek is stand-out, as is Toby Jones as a man who shifts from arrogance (‘ha ha they’ll never guess what animal it is and I’ll keep my daughter forever’) to devastation (‘Now my son-in-law is an ogre!’) in truly sympathetic manner. Even Cassel’s lustful pursuit manages to be bizarrely sympathetic for all parties involved.

The three tales are interwoven, tentatively linked within the story but fully linked in terms of message. The three tales are based on stories from a 17th Century anthology, they are La Cerva Fatata (The Enchanted Doe), La Pulce (The Flea), La Vecchia Scorticata (The Flayed Old Lady)- but they have been freely adapted with elements of other tales by Giambattista Basile, as well as a touch of artistic license. Although set in a medieval Italy it does feel that their are messages being targeted the audiences today – about consequences of decisions and the nature of family.

The costumes are jaw-dropping, the monsters Kafkaesque, the settings breath-taking, the soundtrack haunting yet never overwhelming and the performances totally memorable. Films like this don’t come around very often so see it whilst you can!

4.5

 

10 Cloverfield Lane

The low budget “spiritual successor” to Cloverfield

Cloverfield was a serviceable found footage horror film that did well at the box office predominately due to its marketing strategy which featured things that took the burgeoning viral marketing to a whole new level. MySpace accounts were created for each of the characters, websites for the fictional companies that featured in the film could be trawled through for clues and the film itself was announced only as a series of numbers which formed clues that were eventually revealed to the release date. Cloverfield appeared in a few films of the year lists and that was about it. Producer J.J. Abrams would regularly be hounded for details of a possible sequel but appeared not to be able to give a definitive answer. When the upcoming release of 10 Cloverfield Lane was announced early this year there was real surprise as no-one had known that it was even filming let alone finished. This was due to the fact 10 Cloverfield Lane had not been filmed – originally based on a script called ‘The Cellar‘ it was adapted and linked to Cloverfield it was filmed under the codename ‘Valencia’. Here we are in March 2016 and 10 Cloverfield Lane has been released and it bares little resemblance either in tone or story to its predecessor. And it’s good. Very good indeed. So good that it’s definitely in the running for my end of the year top ten list.

Fleeing New Orleans and her fiance, intentionally leaving her engagement ring behind in the process, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) drives far away from the city. In the process she ends up in a nasty car accident. Next thing she knows she wakes up in a basement, her injured leg is handcuffed to the wall. She desperately does all she can to escape but all attempts are futile. The locked door opens and she is greeted by Howard (John Goodman) who explains that he saved her life and yes he is keeping her trapped down in the basement but it’s for her own good. His rather menacing nature and pointing out of how much Michelle owes him hugely unsettle Michelle who is desperate to leave. She also meets the other resident of the bunker, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who has known Howard for most of his life and is certain that Howard is a conspiracy nut but fundamentally a good guy. Time passes before the pair admit to Michelle why she cannot leave the bunker, a chemical attack has taken place in the outside world contaminating  the air and killing the world’s population in the process. The unknown assailants have made the outside world unlivable and the trio’s only hope to stay alive is to remain in the bunker. All of life’s comforts are there, as Howard has spent most of life preparing for such a situation, but Howard’s increasingly controlling and menacing behaviour makes Michelle desperate to leave. Taking matters into her own hands Michelle soon realises the truth of what has happened.

What is truly impressive about this film is how cleverly it terrifies the audience. Considering it is a 12a (something I have an issue with concerning the themes and some of the moments of the film) it manages to do so much with so few of the big violent scares of other horror films. Two of the film’s tensest moments are when Michelle crawls through the ventilation shaft, twice. Through a brilliant combination of editing, camera work, sound and acting they were both sequences I had to watch through my fingers whilst desperately hoping for the best possible outcome. There are a few moments of big and jumpy scares, many of them coming from loud noises that have never sounded so scary, but most of the moments are slow-building subtle fears that build to genuine terror. This is through the fantastic storytelling and narrative. Information is so carefully withheld then slowly realised to the audience. Every new revelation requires a reassessment of what we know and what we expect will happen next.

We know little about what has actually happened outside and we have little reason to trust our primary source for that information. John Goodman is truly terrifying as mysterious Howard whose character gains murkier and murkier added depths with each conversation. He’s a dangerous blend of menace and deluded altruism with every sequence in which he appears forcing us to eye him dubiously, wondering how much he says is actually the truth and how big a threat he plays towards Michelle. The slow revelations that follow only complicate our distrust and unease of his character. Gallagher Jr.’s Emmett is a much-needed comic foil into the tense mix, when tension hits sky-high level it is masterfully lowered with  a dose black humour. Winstead’s performance as Michelle is the best of her career, making a character who is truly sympathetic and one which we are desperate to succeed. I’d even argue that, in a year which saw Brie Larson win an Oscar from Room in which she played a woman held in captivity, that Winstead’s performance rivals Larson’s. Winstead’s blend of determination to leave and her struggling to accept the awareness of its possible futility may have resulted in one of the finest acting performances of the year.

If you’re looking for a film that clocks in at one hour and a half, that will drain you of every emotion possible, make you jump out of your seat and shield your eyes in concern, then you’ve come to the right place. Well worth seeing, if you dare…

The Witch

Moral of my story: Don’t go see this on your own in an empty cinema.

What makes a horror film a horror film? In the past week or so I’ve heard both praise for this film and a good degree of backlash. Many felt that it wasn’t a horror film, that it wasn’t scary enough and that it was too slow. As a dedicated Wittertainee I’d heard Mark Kermode champion the film stating that ‘the greatest strength of The Witch –that the audience will see in what they want to see, or believe’  So, when a bit of free time opened up in my schedule I thought ‘why not?’ Even after three nights where by sleep has been haunted by a goat called Black Phillip I do not regret my decision, as The Witch is an immensely rich watch and an outstanding debut from its director and writer Robert Eggers.

In 1630 a farmer called William (Ralph Ineson) and his family are excommunicated from their New England community due to the crime of “prideful conceit”. He and wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) must raise their children away from the community they came with when they left England and now live in exile in a forest. They have five children – teenage daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), on the cusp of adolescence Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw), fraternal twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) and new-born Samuel.  One day, when Thomasin is looking after ber youngest sibling and playing a round of peek-a-boo, Samuel disappears. The family is utterly devastated and grief takes its toll, bringing tensions to the surface and testing both the love and loyalty of each of the family members. Is a supernatural force of evil haunting them or is it all imagined?

The greatest choice, of many, that this film makes is to show Samuel’s disappearance to the audience. The audience gets to see a witch, possibly the witch of the title or possibly not, drag poor little baby Samuel into the forest with her. The characters, however, do not get to see this. It’s a classic case of dramatic tension that is oh so effective – this comparatively small piece of information alters how we view the characters and makes us assess then repeatedly reassess what we are seeing. The knowing what actually happened to Samuel lets us watch the consequences with a layer of cynicism, as the family falls apart at the seams. How the dynamics of the family shift and tear creates a deeper level of both atmosphere and tension as we know something they do not. When the blame shifts to teenager Thomasin we automatically defend her. For her family she is the obvious target of blame, after all she was watching him when he disappeared, yet we know that she isn’t. Or is she? As the film plays out the audience is forced to question what they actually know, or if what they actually know is not the whole story.

All of the cast are fantastic, not a single weak link. Ineson is solid as the righteous father who may have let his ego take his family onto a path of destruction. Dickie is wonderful as the grieving mother who doesn’t know where to turn. Taylor-Joy is an extraordinary presence as a girl who has come of age, and how this very fact will change her life. The Witch is rich for cinematic analysis, most obviously the treatment young women which is seemingly reflective of how life would have been for someone of her age in 1630. Scrimshaw possess the kind of face and aura of someone who has lived a thousand lives, a real one-to-watch. The twins are as creepy as you would expect from a film of this sort. That just leaves us with the aforementioned Black Phillip. I’m even going to add a picture here of the beast, just to prove my point.

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Look at him. Just look at him! I genuinely believe there should be a category added to the award ceremonies next year for, ‘scariest performance by an animal’ as Black Phillip would be a solid contender. At this point I’m not even going to tell you what he does, nor will I hint. I don’t think I could even describe it in a manner that would reflect in a  succinct enough manner the terror this beast is capable of. Just like the rest of the film, he gets under-your-skin and into-your-brain.

The Witch is a spooky, slow-release terror that is well worth seeing. Few newcomers could create a film with this depth of atmosphere and tension. I already look forward to what Robert Eggers has to offer us next.

Krampus

The gift that keeps on creeping…

Christmas is a time of festive cheer,

for singing loud for all to hear.

But what if good ol’ Saint Nick was nowhere near?

Instead Krampus came to fill you with terror and fear…

Max used to love Christmas. He used to love wrapping presents with his sister and parents whilst watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. He used to somewhat enjoy when his extended family of aunt, uncle and four cousins made their annual visit from December 22nd to just after Christmas. But every year it’s gotten worse. His parents are growing apart, his sister spends all her time with her boyfriend and his cousins use him as a play toy to amuse themselves. Only his paternal grandmother Omi can see how his Christmas spirit is fading. When his extended family arrive once more the four adults, and surprise guest Aunt Dorothy, clash over the dinner table whilst his cousins brutally tease him for still believing in, then writing a letter to, Santa Claus. It’s the final straw for Max. He rips up the letter in anger and throws it out of the window. That’s when the storm starts, a snow storm like no other. Under the cloak of the blizzard Krampus and his villainous cronies start to arrive…No-one is safe. 

What a pleasant surpise this film was! It’s far from perfect and the pacing of both the first and third act is slightly off, but overall this film is a superb antidote to the kind of movies that some of the little-known Sky channels have been showing since mid-September.  It’s properly funny, has some jump-worthy moments and holds your attention for most of the 98 minute running time.

The story itself is deceptively clever. Though the myth of Krampus is centuries old it feels incredibly immediate and relevant.  The film opens with a sequence that has become unsettling familiar in recent years – a supermarket opening it’s doors for pre-Christmas sales. The crowds rush in, rioting, pushing, shoving and shrieking in their quest for unnesscessay discounted purchases. The fact this is soundtracked with Perry Como’s ‘It’s being to look a lot like Christmas’ successfully exemplifies the increasing commercialism of Christmas. It sets a great tone for the upcoming penance that will have to be paid.

The characters who will soon endure Krampus’ house invasion are well pot rated.  They are the right amount of unlikeable, each given just enough reason to warrant the inevitable onslaught but redeemable enough that you start to care what happens to them. The film doesn’t treat the adults any differently from the children – they have been just as naughty as their parents so need to be punished. As a secondary school teacher I can’t actaully say that Max’s two tween female cousins deserve to be punished,  but I can say that I hope they learn from their mistakes.

Krampus’ and his squad, made up of evil-looking reindeer, scary elves, oh so creepy toys and hilariously horrific gingerbread men own this film. The portryal of the homicidal gingerbread men would be my standout favourite, their evilish giggles haunting the house and they haunt it’s residents.  In fact they did somewhat remind me of Christmas horror-comedy classic ‘Gremlins’ which would make an excellent double movie feature with ‘Krampus’.

If you’re looking to briefly escape the festive season , or see and Old Testament-style backlash against it, or you just want a movie for laughs and a few scares, then this is well worth a watch.

The Gift (2015)

Dare you look inside?

This film is good. Really good. It’s wicked, smart and tense. So tense, you’ll be on the edge of your sheet for most of the film’s 1hr 50min running time. Few contemporary Hollywood films are able to hook in an audience so quickly, so subtly, and keep them gripped to the end credits. Belonging to the ‘thriller’ genre this film (written directed and starring Joel Edgerton) it manages to avoid all the perils of a bad thriller movie. Typically films of this genre are set up with a chunk of exposition, a boring and obvious way of introducing character and story. With ‘The Gift’ Egerton totally avoids this hurdle, instead he sprinkles exposition into dialogue. Twists and turns are set up in a way that it is only once they happen that you realise they were even set up in the first place. Not once does the film dip in tension or give any hints on what will happen next. If you’ve seen the trailer and thought you’d seen it all, you really haven’t!

Robin (Rebecca Hall) and Simon (Jason Batman) move from Chicago to California, to an area not far from Simon’s hometown. When shopping for new home supplies the pair are approached by ‘Gordo’ (Joel Edgerton) who identifies himself as being an old school friend of Simon’s. Gordo quickly establishes himself in their lives, dropping off gifts and making surprise visits at their home. Although Robin seems happy enough to maintain contact with the ‘socially awkward’ Gordo, Simon grows uneasy with Gordo’s behaviour and decides to ‘break-up’ with him and ends their friendship. Gordo does not let this go easily and continues to have a hold over the pair. Secrets from the past swiftly and menacingly threaten to ruin their seemingly idealistic life.

This film is both modern yet welcomingly old-fashioned. Its plot and pacing align it with Hitchcockian storytelling. The fact that much of the film focuses on Robin’s perspective is a throwback to the Gothics of the 1940s. Her doubts over Gordo, and as a result doubts about her husband, are never overblown or ‘too’ melodramatic but rooted in a degree of realism and with complete sympathy. What could be a one dimensional role is instead fully rounded with Hall’s nuances, her subtle discomfort apparent yet carefully and gradually revealed. Bateman is equally as good, barely recognizable in a role that goes far beyond type. All too often taking the role of fraught and downtrodden father figure, he places the role of Simon with ease as he carefully navigates the fine lien between charming and douchebaggery. Whilst we are swift to become uncertain of Gordo’s intent, we soon realise that we know just as little about Simon. His interactions with both Robin and Gordo remain intriguing and frequently unsettling from start to finish.

 But it is Edgerton who remains the star here, portraying the oddest and most secretive of the three leads. Often films like this will signpost, practically with flashing neon lights, what will happen next and who we can trust. Within his script, cinematography and characterisation Edgerton doesn’t do this. All of these dimensions are far too complex for that, refusing to let the viewer rest on their laurels or take a breather. Nothing is certain in this cinematic universe; no-one can be trusted.

A surprise of a movie, engrossing and unpredictable in equal measure. This is a fantastic directorial debut, a tense psycho-thriller and well worth seeing.