Hard to say what's missing but I know what's there : beautiful and meaningful use of slow motion, soundtrack and offscreen (often in rearward travelling shots, be it on closed doors or wood panels). Also the 3 main actors are quite stellar especially the weird and powerful alchemy between Emma Booth (who is incredible) and Ashleigh Cummings.
I've had the pleasure to watch this in a late night session, in a 'gritty' cinema with only three other human beings of the 'odd' variety. One had a moustache, and was seriously overweight. His heavy breathing complimented the atmosphere of casual creepiness created by Young, but it also made me aware of the snuff quality of this movie and how it failed to go into more 'psych-depths'. Emma Booth for the win!!
What struck me the most about this Australian flick was its amazing sound design, cool cinematography and a stellar performance by Emma Booth. The twisted relationship between the leading couple is peeled away throughout the film, revealing something more complex that what are is initially perceived. I had a great time watching this, very tense, very unpredictable.
Australia's sticky hot summer is full of Christmas spirit (odd for northern hemisphere viewers). A deranged love is in the air, placed among its scenes of rape and torture. The unsettling vibe is driven by expert technical crafting, exuding pure style and atmosphere and edited into hypnotic rhythms. Bold, charismatic performances help the deeper psychological exploration and character dynamics.
Good drama/thriller with a grim and distrubing atmosphere and subject matter. The acting is top notch and photo and score is stellar. Too bad that both script and direction lacks the pace and conviction that is needed to make this rise above the competition. It never feels urgent and the plot drags considerably in parts and not until the last twenty minutes finds the right tone.
Premier long métrage parfaitement maîtrisé d'un jeune cinéaste australien, visiblement influencé, avec bonheur et retenue, par l'envoûtement lynchien et l'atmosphère poisseuse de certaines réalisations australes, qui augure d'une intéressante carrière et de quelques présupposés positifs pour sa seconde mise en scène qui devrait connoter science-fiction, extraterrestres et humanité en perdition... www.cinefiches.com
Certainly not breaking any new ground, in fact it is typical to a fault - though tepid and timid, this is a competently crafted and modest arthouse horror. There are some compelling drama and quirky decisions peppered throughout that make us feel the film will take a different route that others - even though it doesn't. Worth the time, but not essential.
the best kidnapping story i've seen in cinema, the soundtrack adds a lot, the casting is also amazing. the shitting scene was very well done too. the ending left a wierd feeling - the scene of mother embracing daughter (it looked as if she was suffocating again, tihis time from love). i'm surprised to see low ratings.
Australian films often skirt the extreme in genre and tone, suggesting we might not be the most subtle people. Young lingers on the suburban landscape of 80's Perth as if the banality might reveal how such horrors occur in populated spaces, but answers aren't forthcoming. It's unpleasant, without too much to say (call your mother!), but the specificity of psychology and location render it somewhat defensible 2.5
Disturbingly unexplicit; the decision to suggest but not show the viler acts is not one of restraint, it exaggerates their power. The bold style, bravely unflinching depiction and underlying philosophy of the acts are strong, their more traditional plotting not so much, even the masterstroke Young borrows from a better thriller.
Although most, if not all, violence is offscreen, Hounds of Love is often unwatchable as both its subject matter and execution reach the same perversity of other recent thrillers from Australia, e.g. Snowtown and Wolf Creek. Aside from a gimmicky coup, the plot is cleverly assembled. The viewing experience is harrowing, tense, and suspenseful. Now brace yourself for the inevitable, diluted, redundant American remake.
Despite some well done early parts in which it uses a PC song during disturbing scenes to create an off-kilter contrast, making the scene creepy and tonally abnormal, Hounds of Love's plot falls into typical hostage mechanics longer than its first hour, with the unique logline of the captive wedging conflict between her captors sadly a bait-and-switch until it finally rears its head. But by then it's mostly too late.