(director: Stephanie Zari; screenwriter: based on the play by Derek Ahonen/Derek Ahonen/story by Sarah Roy & Stephanie Zari; cinematographer: Catherine Derry; editor: Benjamin Gerstein; music: Caspar Leopard; cast: Sarah Roy (Catherine), Tom Cullen (Dan), Jade Anouka (Anita), Anna Wilson-Jones (Betty), Isabelle Connolly (Catherine as a teen), Daisy Mayer (Young Catherine), Moyo Akande (Detective Reese), Buckso Dhillon-Woolley (Charmaine), Angela Yeoh (Dr. Anto), Henry Douthwaite (Father), Siobhan Athwal (Waitress), Gemma Park (Detective); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Dai Davison, Monika Kasprzak; Amazon; 2021-UK)

“Though the story is not a pleasant one, Roy’s chilling performance gets under your skin, is forceful and stands out.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An American born, UK based filmmaker,Stephanie Zari, in her feature film debut, aims for black humor for its story about a deranged woman and tries to make this stagebound material more cinematic (it was performed in 2017 on the Edinburgh Fringe).

It’s based on a play by Derek Ahonen and adapted for the screen by him. The result is an acceptable debut feature for Zari, who clearly shows there’s often a link between child abuse and future mental health issues. But I think the film loses some of its rough edge by having its serious issues in the second half override its quirky first half comedy, as we no longer can feel comfortable enjoying its comical intentions.

On an online date five years ago university lecturer Dan (Tom Cullen) and Catherine (Sarah Roy) meet for a dinner date. She reinvented herself and overcame the lack of trust she had for others and married him.

But that doesn’t mean after five years of marriage she changed her stripes. So when she finds out hubby is watching porn late at night, she snaps and puts a knife through the side of his head as he looks at the film on his laptop in his office, at their rural home. She then calls on her old school friend (and lover) Anita (Jade Anouka) to help get rid of the body by dismemberment and burning it.

While dispersing the body Catherine has flashbacks to her troubled childhood years which reveal a screwed-up relationship with her parents. Her dad (Henry Douthwaite) was a child abuser, her mother (Anna Wilson-Jones) a doper on pills.

Still in flashback, the film veers from Catherine’s first date with Dan, their courting and marriage and her pregnancy, and it shows some ugly encounters with authorities and how she eventually goes too far and becomes an unsympathetic figure who is confused and mentally unbalanced.

Though the story is not a pleasant one, Roy’s chilling performance gets under your skin, is forceful and stands out. Too bad the film became duller the longer it went on.

REVIEWED ON 6/10/2021  GRADE: B-