The literary nature of the title establishes the film's poetic sensibilities & preoccupation with language. The way words are used, not just to tell stories, but to paint pictures, express emotions, allude & evoke. The storytelling is minimal, suggested rather than stated. Time folds & repeats itself, presenting echoes of a terrible crime, which reverberates through art & life. A quiet curiosity of aesthetics & mood.
"You turned your back so many times, that soon your feet were facing the wrong way altogether." The third star is for that line, and also for the shelves of splendid Penguin (I mean, "Harpoon") paperbacks that live on one of Iris Blum's study's walls. The first two stars are for the very promising preternatural hush that pervades the film from its first frame. The absence of any additional stars is too bad.
Atmospheric and eerie new film from director Oz Perkins that is an exercise in tension building that never really comes to fruition. Ruth Wilson is quite good here its the scripting that lacks depth. Well worth a look and bodes promise for further work from the filmmaker.
An expertly staged gothic chiller with a poetic script that is heavy on mood and atmosphere but slight on conventional plot progression. Your enjoyment of this flick hangs on the fact if you can get into the slow burn dread that Perkins conjures up out of meager means. I guess it is easy to find this film boring and slow but yours truly was engrossed completely and also creeped out but the sound design and music.
In this house you'll either dig the affectation or you won't. Much like 'Eyes of My Mother', it's a stately exercise in mood building which relies on the viewer sharing that mood. Its austerity becomes a stand-in for the mystery, and I suspect its off-kilter nature isn't entirely intentional - the biggest twist for me was that they hired Wilson to have her play straight. I hope and believe this will find its fans.
Less surprising that its predecessor, but Perkins confirms himself to be a refined cinematographer by dwelling in shadows in the era of digital, without being scared at all by compression for all those deep livid shades of black. Keep going please.
The influence of Shirley Jackson from lookalike Blum to a living and breathing house shines through, and the silence, space (big rooms vs. dark doorways), and the expectant atmosphere translate well on screen with expert command of camera angles. Occasionally, it feels like the viewer is the ghost watching the occupants. Unfortunately, the flat script eats away some of the tension.
It's most audacious in the Poe-lite, stately voiceover that no one told me to expect, as that particular layer of narration is not exactly taught in film school these days. Her performance, while a bit too scattered, prioritizes the voice as her figure bleeds into a well-defined milieu. Most horror is unnerving until it's crudely climactic, this is just unnerving until it isn't.