Cory Finley’s directorial debut has been likened to Heathers and American Psycho, which felt like a long reach for me.
The trailer plays with a vibrant, youthful pulse that would lend weight to this likeness, but that’s purely down to marketing and editing of said piece.
The crux of the film rests solely on the lead female characters as the driving force; both offer deep layers of complexity, which as they unravel provide more than meets the eye. The rub though is in their vacuous demeanour, which finds them hard to warm to, especially as we originally journey through the eyes of Amanda (Olivia Cooke – who seriously must be questioning her film choices at this stage, The Quiet Ones, Ouija, The Limehouse Golem) who is revealed to have an unspecified mental disorder where she is devoid of any emotion.
Whilst Cooke plays this with a decent level of macabre and melancholic humour, it leaves you struggling to know who to connect to.
In some sense, you could argue that this attachment comes with Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy – who keeps churning out captivating performances in her work) but her elitist view on the world and lifestyle embedded in high society can alienate you from her motives and place them purely as petty and spoilt.
Whilst the late Anton Yelchin injects an interesting balance as drug dealing dropout, Tim, balanced in juxtaposition to coldness, and yet strangely pleasurable to see the women gain the upper hand in the triangle relationship as they plot to murder Lily’s stepfather, Mark (gloriously played by Paul Sparks – House of Cards, Boardwalk Empire).
Back to Finley who also wrote the screenplay for Thoroughbreds and for his first feature cuts together a decent enough plotline to keep you interested and definitely with enough twists and turns in the narrative to keep you intrigued.
In some cases, there is a sense of superiority in the way the dialogue is delivered, venturing on the side of trying too hard to be clever, which can feel a bit verbose and alienate its audience.
It’s a fine first effort from Finley, which relies on the strength of the two leads to pull a fairly weighty script into what feels a long 90min running time.
Thankfully there is enough intrigue and playfulness in the script to pepper the audience along to its conclusion, but this is not groundbreaking, nor will it win the hearts of hard-core horror enthusiasts.
– Saul Muerte
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