Following the high-strung tension of Boiling Point, director Philip Barantini returns to deliver another potion of pitch-perfect suspense with Accused. A taut home invasion thriller for the digital age, the film follows Londoner Harri (Sex Education’s Chaneil Kular), who travels to his parents’ secluded country home to dog-sit while they go on holiday. However, after being falsely identified as the culprit of a terrorist attack, he’s terrorised by masked intruders who desire to enact their own sense of justice.
Though it takes some time for the plot to kick into gear due to a lengthy opening act, which establishes the various components that will come into play later, the tension never loses its hold”
“A taut home invasion thriller for the digital age”
once the danger creeps into Harri’s life. Many films have attempted to replicate the stress and terror that can occur online, but none have achieved the sense of imminent threat that comes from watching the hateful messages scroll across Harri’s laptop.
From here, the urgency only escalates as the violence moves from the internet to reality. Though the events aren’t presented as one continuous take, like in Boiling Point, Barantini nevertheless maximises the impact of Harri’s ordeal by making full use of the setting. The secluded home may be a clichéd choice for the genre, but when every creek and knock reverberating throughout the old house could be the sound of someone trying to break in, viewers are constantly reminded of the severity of the protagonist’s situation.
Intertwined with the home invasion plotline is an examination of the racism and hatred that has permeated online spaces. It’s no secret that the suspicion and violence aimed towards Harri is entirely racially motivated. Shots of anonymous people posting vile messages online are an all-too-apt snapshot of the realities of social media, and it’s these real-world parallels that make the ensuing incidents even more harrowing.
Led by a strong performance from Kular, Accused is a nail-biting thriller that shines a light on bigotry. Though a sizable chunk of the runtime is spent putting the various pieces in motion, Barantini’s movie refuses to relinquish its grip once these pieces fall into place.
Accused is released on Netflix on 22nd September 2023.
Watch the trailer for Accused here: