(director/writer: Andrew Semans; cinematographer: Wyatt Garfield; editor: Ron Dulin; music: Jim Williams; cast: Rebecca Hall (Magaret), Tim Roth (David Moore), Grace Kaufman (Abbie), Angela Wong Carbone (Gwyn), Michael Esper (Peter); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Tory Lenosky, Alex Scharfman, Drew P. Houpt, Lars Knudsen, Tim Headington, Lia Buman: IFC/Shudder; 2022)
“The film is carried by the sparkling performance by Rebecca Hall.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Filmmaker Andrew Semans (“Nancy, Please”) helms a one-note thriller, that has little to say about abuse that isn’t over-the-top but is well-produced.
The single mom Margaret (Rebecca Hall) lives with her 17-year-old daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman). She’s an executive for a big pharma company. Things are going smoothly, even her affair with her married co-worker Peter (Michael Esper) is no problem, as its kept secret. But a monster (a gaslighter) from her past, David (Tim Roth), suddenly returns to where she lives and she feels threatened, as she spots him first in an Albany, NY, department store and then becomes paranoid thinking he’s stalking her all-over town.
With no help from the law or anyone else, Margaret left to her own devices, in the climax, goes savage after reaching her breaking point and resolves the problem in a controversial and extremely violent way. We learn she’s a vic of abuse (David killed and ate their child) and the film suggests the stings of such abuse are so great that they never go away and could lead to a complete mental breakdown (I should think so!).
The film is carried by the sparking performance by Rebecca Hall and the emotionally impactful direction of Andrew Semans, but most of it is tedious and the weird stuff never quite registered with me as credible.
It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 2/5/2022 GRADE: B-