By Hemanth Kissoon
Everyone is weird in this film. It’s like we’re in a parallel universe where nothing can be said or a gesture made without it seeming to be loaded. One of the best examples of this other worldly fear is Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING. This ain’t no SHINING. Not even close. The purpose of the dialogue seems to be to give the characters an air of mystery and menace, but instead is just stilted, perfunctory and bland.
We have two main locations, a laboratory and a flat, where we witness Polly (Laura Fraser) get increasingly unsettled as she hears voices in her pad. It doesn’t help that her sister Jimi (Antonia Bernath) keeps letting herself in unannounced, nor that her musician boyf Chapman (Adam Fenton) is progressively more errant, that her boss Julius Greengrass (Richard E. Grant) is channelling Norman Bates, and that Dr. Simon Livingstone (Tamsin Greig) has some sort of inability to engage with others. Everyone we meet appears to have some deep psychological flaws, and that is wearying to endure for an entire movie; especially when everything feels so disjointed. The uncanny can be extremely scary. Not here, it’s just tedious. Contrast Darren Aronofsky’s BLACK SWAN, or Section 8 production directed by John Maybury, THE JACKET; these two are excellent claustrophobic thrillers, with something to say beyond their genre. There’s even an instance here, where Polly utters the word, “cuckoo”. Really, are you serious?! You feel the need to make the title of the movie that obvious.
The quality of the cast and the above average lighting stop this descending into TV movie of the week territory. Just. Guess what Julius is a professor of? “Experimental cardiology”. A very silly, boring movie.