Hounds of Love
From Psycho to Silence of the Lambs, the mind-set and psychological make up of serial killers has forever been an area of intrigue for Hollywood and its audience: sex may sell, but, equally, so does murder. It is a genre that has been exploited and left slightly charred by made-for-money slash hits aimed at YA viewers (think Prom Night or the more recent flop Unfriended), but every so often something great comes out of the woodwork.
Meet actor-cum-director Ben Young who makes a stab with his first feature-length masterpiece Hounds of Love. Set in 1980s Australian suburbia, sociopathic power duo John (Stephen Curry) and his doting wife Evelyn (the glorious Emma Booth) coax teen rebel Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) back to their murderous lair with the promise of drugs. What develops is a game of cat and mouse as Vicki attempts to gain her freedom by coming between John and Evelyn’s toxic relationship.
On the surface, it may seem like a run-of-the-mill slaughter flick; still what gives the film its artistic flourish is the lack of on-screen violence generating an overwhelming sense of dread as our imagination is left to wander beyond closed doors. Flashes of the aftermath are enough to drive the right conclusions, yet what this absence ultimately proves is that a taste of violence is more powerful than a spoonful of gore.
The performances are masterful, in particular Emma Booth whose raw emotion just radiates off the screen. Stephen Curry’s John’s character is somewhat typical with OCD and a narcissistic victim complex, yet his utterly dominant control over Evelyn and Vicki is so terrifying, the contrived nature of his character is absolutely forgiven. Props are given to newcomer Ashleigh Cummings who harnesses all levels of teen angst without treading into brattish territory.
Bone-chillingly terrifying, Hounds of Love certainly reinforces the message we all received as kids: “Don’t talk to strangers”.
Hounds of Love is released nationwide on 28th July 2017.
Watch the trailer for Hounds of Love here: