Look Away


Viewed – 06 July 2019. Online rental

Occasionally a concept will grab my attention immediately and this eerie thriller is one such example. A bullied, introverted schoolgirl finds herself turning to her own reflection who’s sinister intentions gradually start to take control.

A story about a teenage girl, fitting in at high school , bullies and going to the prom whilst hiding a potentially deadly secret. Yep this certainly has echoes of Carrie but also brings in a few other elements such as the doppelgänger / alter-ego, peer pressure and a surprising amount of (attempted) eroticism. However as sexy as the movie tries to be, even when blended with the supernatural … a rather pubescent-looking lead actress made for, occasionally uncomfortable viewing. It’s also a movie that wastes potential on a clearly undeveloped script.

Which is a shame, as the dual performance (with some clever camera trickery) by relative unknown India Esley is decent and support from Mira Sorvino and especially Jason Isaacs means this isn’t quite the straight to VOD it otherwise appears to be. Yet the ending was unsatisfying with the movie giving too many hints at a larger story that’s ultimately left to the viewers imagination. In other hands that may have worked but here … it just doesn’t.

Verdict: 2.5 /5

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A Cure for Wellness


Viewed – 29 September 2017  Online-rental

Lockhart, a somewhat over-worked executive (Dane DeHaan) is given the task to travel to Switzerland to locate an illusive CEO of the company he works for, which is facing financial problems.  However on arrival at a hospital where the wealthy go for ‘the cure’ Lockhart begins to suspect something dark and sinister is afoot. 

a-cure-for-wellness

It’s not hard to gleam Shutter Island vibes from this, what with the lead’s more than passing resemblance to a somewhat younger Leonardo DiCaprio and a setting of a creepy, isolated sanatorium with stories of a violent history.  Add to this a lead doctor (Jason Isaacs) who may or may not be up to no good, and I was half expecting Lockhart’s dead wife to turn up.  Gore Verbinski however is a good enough director to take such inspiration and lavish it with his own distinct style, albeit with a reliance on animal imagery he used so well in the Ring remake (yup, Deers and Cows are officially symbols of impending doom).  Add to this often breath-taking cinematography and this is one eye-catching movie.

When the final twist reveals itself, it’s so blatantly sign-posted that it proves not all that surprising … but paves the way for a decidedly old-school, Hammer-horror inspired climax that works well.  However I was left questioning a few things that are not explained.

Dane DeHaan may not be the most interesting leading man but his look and performance suit the eerie, freaky mood.  It’s a tad over-long with a first act that drags and some of the more freaky moments confuse (the steam baths scene, the eels).  However it nails the setting and has an intriguing mystery, making this still worth your time.

Verdict:  3.5 /5