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By midlandsmovies, Aug 3 2017 08:58PM

Hounds of Love (2017) Dir. Ben Young

Australian model Emma Booth is unrecognisable as Evelyn White, the warped partner of a serial killer who preys on young girls in this debut feature from director Ben Young. Her husband is John (a creepy Stephen Curry) and together they troll the neighbourhood looking for unsuspecting girls to kidnap, torture and eventually kill. After a successful stalk and kill spree, their next target is the impressionable Ashleigh Cummings (as Vicki).

Jumping from her window at night to head to a party, Vicki is tempted by the lure of a lift and marijuana before being tricked into entering the couple’s home then drugged and chained to a bed. This dark and disturbing film treats its characters with respect allowing the actors to brilliantly portray twisted, psychopathic tendencies whilst showing a vulnerability and doubt that arise during quieter moments.

The house is surprisingly normal yet Vicki witnesses the twisted relationship from her confines and realises these doubts may be her one means of escape.

Jealousy and resentment play their parts and the director continuously crosses the mundane with bouts of shocking terror which never allows an audience to get truly comfy. There are (small) echoes of The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) as we see kidnappers distrusting one another but the terrifying drama and sadistic suffering is more akin to Haneke’s Funny Games (1997).

Booth portrays a conflicted persecutor so well there are signs of sympathy but her torment is cut with brutal cruelty that reminds us of the extremely harrowing circumstances she has placed this young woman in.

Cumming as Vicki suffers at the hands of her aggressors but knows that it will be her mind not her muscles that will assist her and the actress gives a first-rate performance as the abused but assured victim. A quality yet somewhat controversial debut, Ben Young has crafted a creepy suburban scare story which has the uncanny ability to make audiences both panic and ponder over its disturbing content. A scary soap opera about the neighbours next door.


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