Viewed – 26 August 2022 online rental
Alex Garland has become for me a director to watch. Both Ex Machina and Annihilation are two of the most interesting science fiction movies in years. However this latest effort dips his toe in the horror genre, so I was intrigued what this director would do. This has a woman escaping to the English countryside in an attempt to get away from traumatic events. However whilst staying in an old house she begins to feel like she is being stalked by mysterious men in the village and neighbouring woods.
Jesse Buckley (Fargo, I’m Thinking of Ending Things) is someone I’m finding I enjoy; a quirky actress who seems to just be getting better and better. Here she turns in arguably her strongest performance to date as a troubled, broken woman overcoming domestic violence. The movie is beautifully shot, full of creepy atmosphere as well a very artistic style, making even the simplest shots eye-catching. At the centre is a dream-like, occasionally nightmarish tone and it works well. A special mention should go to actor Rory Kinnear in possibly one of the most chameleon-like roles I’ve seen an actor in for a while. It’s both comical, weird and disturbing.
Towards the end Garland gets a bit carried away with his ideas. The final moments went to some utterly out-there places to make a point about guilt, paranoia and grief, of which it’s only partly successful. Overall a unique and unsettling experience that although doesn’t stick the landing, is still worth seeing.