Hounds of Love – Review

houndsoflove_posterHounds of Love
1h 48min | Crime, Drama, Horror | 5 July 2017 (France)

Synopsis: In suburban Perth during the mid 1980s, people are unaware that women are disappearing at the hands of serial killer couple John and Evelyn White. After an innocent lapse in judgment, Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted by the disturbed couple. With her murder imminent, Vicki realizes she must find a way to drive a wedge between Evelyn and John if she is to survive. Hounds of Love is an exercise in expertly-crafted tension, offering a bold, challenging debut from writer/director Ben Young.

Release Date: May 12, 2017 (In Theaters & on VOD)

Review: The thing that struck me the most about the Australian thriller, HOUNDS OF LOVE, was how subtly creepy it is. The story is simple enough and the location is kept pretty much to one area. There is nothing flashy nor does it try and reinvent the genre. The two main characters are as average as anyone on your street which makes you wonder what really goes on behind closed doors. So what makes it so eery? The performances. They are so believable that you forget you are watching a work of fiction. It is what makes your skin tingle and your heart race. This feels too real.

John (Stephen Curry) and Evelyn White (Emma Booth) are psychotic. They go about their day as if the body of the young girl (Ashleigh Cummings) tied up in the spare room was as common as a visiting relative. It is obvious they have done this a lot. They have it down to a science. John is domineering and even though Evelyn plays her part the puppet strings begin to show. During their conversations you begin to understand the effect John has on her. He is as seductive and manipulative as any high profile cult leader. Curry is spectacular in this role. So good in fact that it has you shivering long after the film is over.

Writer/director Ben Young uses tight spaces to give you the sense of being trapped. The film has a weight to it that elevates the intensity. You don’t want to look away as he draws you in to the events and holds you captive. The writing too is decent. There are few cliches in this one and he gives the triangle of the three main characters some solid conversations. John may always be in control but how much and with whom shifts back and forth.

Setting the film in the 80’s also helps aid in the simplistic normality of it. The world seemed bigger then and people could get lost. We forget what it is like to be unconnected from everything and everyone. Technology often offers convenient plot lines too. Taking that away forces Young to think broader.

HOUNDS OF LOVE is unrated but most certainly an adult film. The language, content and sexual material are for mature audiences. Australian thrillers are some of my favorite and it took me a few hours to completely shake the goosebumps off after watching this one.