Jesse Sparks’s review published on Letterboxd:
TG Roulette 2: The Second Story WK/ weeks ago
No Swayze here, nothing against the guy, but his 80s action flicks aren't going to knock my socks off, and Steam sure wouldn't recommend it. Instead, he and I have a connection in horror, and he's brought me towards several underappreciated horror flicks over the years, this movie is another added to the pile.
The initial moments reminded me of another Aussie flick I've seen recently, which was Wake in Fright. Particularly in the way the scene at the diner establishes dread through unconventional means. An example being a random father threatening to physically discipline his son. Add that to the host of other incidental things going on at the time and you've got a director that understands how to create mood through the smallest of actions. It's too bad he didn't do anything else after, as far as I know.
I've seen many mention that the film is as if The Shining were directed by Dario Argento. There is a European sensibility to the film's visual design, and it does feature a character spiraling in a creepy house. So maybe the comparison is valid?
I really enjoyed it though. I appreciate the visual storytelling, there's is multiple good uses of the house's architecture to demonstrate the lead character's mental state. I also dig how it plays around with the various subgenres of horror and the expectation of how these events should play out based on those subgenres. "Oh, it's a psychological thriller? The finale will probably go all Repulsion on me an....but wait!!! I thought this was a psychological thriller?".
The biggest flaw would be the development of some of the subplots. They feel like red herrings that don't really add up by the ending. Then again, the core plot isn't very satisfying on paper by the end, definitely entertaining though. It's got a bitchin soundtrack, some genuine scares, and a very memorable final act that's take it home.