I consider abduction / kidnap as one of the most disturbing crimes anyone can do to another person, so sat down to this Australian thriller with a mixture of trepidation and intrigue. This tells the story of a teenage schoolgirl who falls victim one night to a sexually depraved couple, who abduct and then imprison girls in their suburban house, using them for their sexual needs before discarding them once they’re bored … usually leading to a shallow grave in the woods.
Inspired by real life crimes of a similar type, this pulls no punches. It’s shot in a very realistic and voyeuristic style, that makes for very uncomfortable viewing, although I found myself absorbed thanks to strong performances, especially from Ashleigh Cummings as Vicki in a harrowing turn. Director Ben Young doesn’t linger too much on the more violent or sexual aspects, instead choosing to cut away and leave a lot to the imagination … whilst keeping enough in to hammer home the full extent of the couple’s depravity. I should also point out the atmospheric score, subtle but well judged to increase the intensity. The exploration of the couple’s brittle relationship was also well observed, along with how Vicki attempts to drive a wedge between them.
I felt support characters like the boyfriend and father were under-developed and Police are as usual portrayed as incompetent idiots. It also gets a bit predictable in the final act. That being said I came away rather affected by this, and therefore give it a firm recommendation.
I know why it has taken so long for me to get around to watching this. Firstly for the most part much of the movies on Netflix are either seen it or pretty lame, bargain bin fair that I quickly regret clicking on. However starring Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe in an against type role (does he really have a type though?) and with thoughts of his above average turn in Woman In Black … this has always been on my ‘to watch’ list. The bizarre concept made me hesitant also.
Radcliffe stars as Iggy who we learn early on has been suspected of his long time girlfriend’s murder and whilst the cops try to build a case against him, he tries to prove his innocence. One morning however he awakes to find a set of horns have sprouted devil-like from his head and suddenly the towns folks are confessing their deepest darkest secrets to him, whether he wants to hear them or not.
This rather unusual idea took a little bit of getting into but once I caught onto the somewhat tongue-in-cheek tone, I was thoroughly along for the ride. It plays out like an extended Twilight Zone episode and certainly proves highly entertaining as we watch some outrageous behaviour from people drawn to Iggy as he gathers clues about the murder, interspersed with flashbacks that piece things together for the viewer at the same time. It has a decidedly Stephen King vibe too, which is never a bad thing. The whodunit may be a bit easy to guess, but with strong performances, especially from Radcliffe, some decent effects work, and stylish direction by Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) … I found this original, freaky and darkly funny which is often a great combination. Recommended.