Hounds Of Love: a review

We were abused, manipulated and terrorised in the domesticated Luna Palace Cinemas on Thursday night.

BY Mathew Bell

A twisted and chilling experience, director Ben Young lures his audience and captures them in the horror of a dramatic 1987 Australian suburb. We were abused, manipulated and terrorised in the domesticated Luna Palace Cinemas on Thursday night 18/5/2017 as Hounds of Love premiered in Australia and every agonising moment was spectacularly thrilling.

From immersive lenses and angles to metaphorical meson scene, not a single shot in this film was taken before an elegant thought process was maliciously planned to guide and exploit the audience. We woke up exhausted, we were stressed to a boiling point, we screamed internally and eventually we became a part of this psychopath’s daily repetitive routine. One particular scene has been bound to my memory. Imagine those (now) cliché’ hallway scenes, the killer is coming towards you, it’s stretched out to build suspense, tension and anxiety. Well this one display will make your heart skip a beat as the actress Emma Booth walks down a hallway so fast and with such sudden intensity the viewer regrets seeing what caused it.

Featuring Stephen Curry who adopted the role of Josh, a cold calculating controller, shockingly well. Stephen cunningly convinces his mistress through compliments, passive aggressive tones and violent bursts of an appetite for power, which is quickly soured by his weaknesses. He even manages to squeeze an uncomfortable giggle out of the audience in the company of hostility.

Ashleigh Cummings performs the part of Vicki, a gorgeous teenage girl who resents her mother. Ashleigh’s character transforms throughout the film and contributes so much energy to the story that even though the audience expects her decisions, we accept what influences her choices and we await the consequences right there by her side.

Emma Booth embraces the role of the tormented partner to the sociopath, her character Evelyn, undergoes a struggle of conflict, remorse and contemplation. She plunges into this story as a confident accomplice, assisting the audience in choking down points of suffering and swallowing our courage and curiosity. She even secretly terrorises the viewers into forgetting an intelligent talent through a moment of tethered tension.

Hounds of Love is an exceptional piece of contemporary film and is well deserving of the attention it has received so far and much more. The movie covers themes of destructive relationships, domestic abuse behind closed doors, codependence and abduction.  Even though this film portrays serious violence, the director’s restraint will often leave you out of frame or in another room to witness the awful moments, this is where you the viewer use what knowledge you have been given to put the scene together.

The film preserves a horribly chilling familiarity, which is very responsive and unsettling at the same time. Perhaps it’s the subtle Australian pop culture items, colours, design and accents. Or it’s because the story we were expecting has been chained and twisted into our own suburban neighbourhood. Either way, show this Western Australian film some love because you will be shocked and surprised, only to later realise you’ve been manipulated and abused by director Ben Young and his incredible production team.

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