Back in 2016 director Nicolas Pesce made a hefty entrance into the genre scene with a shocking and disturbing view on trauma and the impact on the psyche with stunningly brutal and hauntingly evocative scenes.
Where The Eyes of My Mother left a significant impression, his more recent venture that looked to resurrect The Grudge franchise fell remarkably short of its desired outcome.
Sandwiched between the two films stands Piercing, a film equally as disturbing as its predecessor but willing to add a touch of light in the darkness with a dash of humour thown into the mix along the way.
Based on the novel by author Ryū Murakami, who also penned Audition, we centre on Reed (Christopher Abbott) a new father struggling to fight the horrific compulsion to stab his infant daughter with an ice pick.
Not only is this fucked up but an indicator of just how dark Pesce is willing to push the boundaries of taste.
To prevent himself from carrying out the unthinkable, he hatches a plan to hire a prostitute to enact his dark desires.
Part of the beauty of this film is projected through the way Reed methodologically acts out how he imagines the night to go with some nicely supported sound effects. It also establishes how unhinged and removed from reality he has become that verges on the fantastical.
It’s not long however before the pendulum swings as Reed’s murderous scheme begins to unravel along with the arrival of Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), a prostitute who also harbours a dark fantasy embroiled in twisted behaviour.
This shift in direction tips Reed off kilter and we’re treated to a glorious encounter that constantly sees the balance of power switch between these star-crossed sadists.
Pesce manages to deliver another depraved dive into a wretched psychological world that puts two disturbed individuals together.
The delicate balance between salvation, sacrifice, and satisfaction is always at play, which keeps the audience guessing.
It’s a visually stunning piece that sheds light once more on the impact that trauma has on the individual and the actions that they undertake to find reprieve.
– Saul Muerte