(Originally appeared in EXBERLINER on Jul. 9 , 2015)
It’s too bad this indie horror gem doesn’t quite know how to wrap things up, since what comes before the somewhat reluctant final act is a rare find – a cinematic scare orchestrated with style and suspense to spine-tingling perfection.
The premise of a teenage girl who starts seeing and getting followed by an unknown evil being after sexual contact with its previous host is as simple as it is genius. Instead of merely evoking disgust through a blood-and-gore treatment typical for the genre, it breaches your sense of security and grasp on sanity by breathing an air of paranoia into the commonest of scenes. Technically, Mitchell also brings formidable chops to the table. His visual language, elegant in its compositional leanness and temporal ease, communicates dread with utter authority while sonically, the synthesizer-based score rocking some ancient beats is just plain disturbing.
There are a few missteps, most notably the couple of effects shots where the film veers from the splendid mood piece it is and goes for optical gags, as well as the ending, which feels both protracted and truncated; but otherwise, it’s sweet, sweet torture to be held in the grip of something this creepy, thickly atmospheric and relentlessly terrifying.