Daniel Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
Scavenger Hunt 67 - movie 2 | task 19 - watchlist shuffle |
“She isn’t gone.”
What better film to start my horror watches for Halloween? After watching Midsommar when it was released and really enjoying it, I’ve been waiting to find the right time to visit Ark Aster’s debut full length film. What more is there to say other than it’s an absolutely superb horror. An instant classic. A brilliantly creepy, tense and atmospheric tale, that brings actual scares and unease without the use of cheap tricks or jump scares.
Aster managed to mould a brilliant story. That in a lesser filmmaker could have been gone typical haunting type story. But Aster manages to make something so much more. The emotional heartbreak and turmoil of losing a loved one is the true centre of the movie. The horror occurring around this. It’s a film about grieving and dealing with losing a loved one, the inner turmoils that this brings with it. The horror almost takes a back seat during some of the film, but when it comes to the forefront it’s effective and creepy. It works because the film doesn’t lose the focus on the emotional beats, using the horror to expand these ideas rather than pushing them aside.
There’s a great use of horror imagery throughout. I really loved the style of the film. There’s gorgeous cinematography, with some beautiful shots. I love the use of the miniatures slowly becoming the actual scene. Every shot feels dark, tense and so atmospheric. It creates that tension, the sense of growing dread that something awful is coming. The use of music and sounds pushes this uneasiness from the very beginning. Not a single shot feels wasted, each one adding something to the tension of the tale.
The entire cast is fantastic, all four of the family members give brilliant performances. But of course, it’s Toni Collette who stands out the most. Just like I’m sure everyone else has said, she deserved some award buzz for this performance. Not only a brilliant horror performance, but also a pitch perfect portrayal of breakdown of a character going through so much emotional torment and loss. I don’t think there’s a single scene where her performance isn’t outstanding and captivating.
A truly captivating, original and creepy horror that never loses sight of its emotional beats or characters along the way. It feels perfectly paced, and tense throughout, a perfect start to this years Halloween watches!