She’ll review – edgy psychological horror meets feminist revenge fable | Horror films

Jhis viscerally atmospheric debut feature by Franco-British artist and filmmaker Charlotte Colbert arrives with an endorsement from an Italian horror maestro (“Dario Argento Presents”) and a rave endorsement from Mexican Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, who says it “steps in the tradition of great psychological horror films”. A chilling tale of buried secrets and dreamy vengeance with a subversive feminist edge, this latter-day fable espouses the spiraling, self-reflective narrative of Shirley Jackson’s novel. The Haunting of Hill House with echoes of the quirky visual sensibility of the 1962 cult oddity carnival of souls. A heart-poundingly intense central performance from Alice Krige (who earned her genre spurs in Peter Straub’s underrated 1981 screen adaptation ghost story) is the lightning rod at the heart of the film, anchoring its hallucinogenic visuals in the terra firma of past tragedies and modern trauma, causing “dark thoughts; really dark thoughts.

A striking opening that intercuts the surgical flashes of a mastectomy with the ritual application of makeup (“Every mask has a function…this mask is about preservation”) introduces us to Veronica Ghent, a fading screen icon to whom Krige lends a hint of Norma Desmond. royal vault. Veronica is on an overnight train for Scotland, heading for a secluded retreat where she can recuperate in private. “No pain?” asks her Desi nurse/assistant (Kota Eberhardt), to which Veronica (whose face seems to be constantly suppressing a cry) mirthlessly replies, “All pain.”

Things get worse when they arrive at their destination to find it overrun with a group of other guests (“solo retreats only happen in the summer – they alternate with silent yoga”). These unwanted traveling companions are brought together theatrically by Rupert Everett’s flamboyant Tirador – an openly feminist art instructor who clearly fancies himself an Oscar Wilde of the web and who tells his impatient students that the charcoal they use “comes from this land”, a land enriched by the ashes of countless women burned as witches through the ages. “Oh my God, it’s a nightmare,” says Veronica, already plagued by night terrors and haunted by visions of her childhood encounter with filmmaker Eric Hathbourne (Malcolm McDowell), to whom she was “my special daughter “. But as fear and loathing give way to something more assertive, Veronica finds strength in the challenging spirits of the past, with life-changing results – real or imagined.

Colbert describes She goeswhich she co-wrote with Kitty Percy, as “a psychological horror about a woman’s dreams erasing her trauma”, a tale about “revenge, the power of nature, the unconscious, the way we carry within us the muscle memory of all who have come before and all who will come after.’ subtly historical horrors with the #MeToo threads of its modern narrative, leaving Hathbourne to pathetically plead that any alleged wrongdoing happened in “a completely different time”.

Like that of Robert Eggers The witch and Ben Wheatley In the ground, Colbert’s film roots its inner transformations in an outer landscape that seems to throb with life, especially during sequences in which the ground oozes in sticky Cronenbergian fashion under Veronica’s feet, and trees and plants are rustled by a wind that sounds like whispers. Jamie Ramsay’s widescreen cinematography drinks in the twilight landscape, while visionary flashes of the past, present and future collide recall the elliptical montage of Nicolas Roeg’s film don’t look now.

Not everything lands. Some of the tonal shifts (Krige’s cool ice pick versus Everett’s campy comic relief) make for somewhat mismatched bedfellows, and the plot can get a little too cryptically unraveled. But those are minor imperfections, mitigated by composer Clint Mansell’s haunting, sing-song score, which perfectly matches both the tactility of the visuals and the finesse of the layered sound design. In the wake of Rose Glass’s Saint Maud, Prano Bailey Bond’s Censor and Romola Garai Amuletit offers even more evidence of a local wave of cutting-edge films from female filmmakers who have found their natural home in the vast possibilities of the horror genre.

Comments are closed.