Fresh from a stint trying “to become a better human being”, troubled Krisha (played by Krisha Fairchild) returns for Thanksgiving dinner to a household she abandoned years ago. Trey Edward Shults’s tense and stunning debut feels more like a horror flick than a piece on family, but of course, for anyone who’s ever experienced a family drama in real life, the two can feel indistinguishable.
Krisha is a film that takes no prisoners. On the one hand, viewers will empathise with the titular character’s long suffering family, whom they imagine first having to deal with the drama associated with her presence, and then the fallout of her leaving. However, the audience can also feel how painful it is for Krisha to be with them once again. This is where the movie truly shines.
Shults’s directorial skill and Fairchild’s heartbreaking performance both combine to capture the unique anxiety that so many people fall prey to around those they are closest to, particularly in the holiday season. After all, who among us hasn’t found themselves reaching for the wine bottle at the dinner table when things get tense?
The protagonist’s fears of judgement, of abandonment, of being emotionally vulnerable – which are clearly seen within the first ten minutes of the film, as she finds an excuse to escape the room before her feelings get the better of her – are palpable. The only point at which the movie lets itself down is with the quite frankly obnoxious soundtrack in the first half. Presumably an attempt at metaphor, the only possible excuse for such jarring noise would be to represent Krisha’s mounting discomfort and anxiety.
This is unfortunate because Shults’s film does not need such uncomfortable audio to represent the character’s unease or to build the tension, and it is all the worse for it. Krisha is, in all other respects, a work of art, and did not need a ham-fisted soundtrack to help it get up and walk on its own two feet. As the latter half of the picture proves, it is fully capable of doing that all by itself.
Krisha is released in selected cinemas on 9th December 2016.
Watch the trailer for Krisha here: