Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Hostile



The lead item here is that writer-director Nathan Ambrosiani made this when he was fourteen years old – though it’s by no means an amateur production, with impressive cinematography,  editing and sound design, plus generally decent acting.  Only a few script lapses – like a dump of crucial information conveyed by an answerphone message no-one gets to listen to except the audience – suggest immaturity, though I’ve seen plenty of films by grown-ups that have bigger howlers.


It’s slightly too tricksy in its storytelling, perhaps to camouflage the slightness of the story nugget – which is what precisely is up with innocent-looking but plainly deadly teenage sisters Emilie (Julie Venturelli) and Anna (Luna Belan).  The narrative’s present tense is blurred as we start with documentary stuff (it’s partly a found footage film) shot by a couple of filmmakers from a TV show called SOS Adoption (Anatolia Allieis, Morgan Hec) about Meredith (Shelley Ward), who has adopted the troubled waifs and has a bad time with them as omens pile up … then she disappears, and a pair of paranormal investigators (Magali Gouyon, Julien Croquet) and a charity worker get involved with the girls, who seem to have a Satanic patron, a complicated backstory involving another possessed teenager (Lucille Donier) and a probable homicidal streak.  It winds up with a sacrificial ritual, a rational explanation involving ketamine (that phone message) and a 1970s TV movie evil-lives-on punchline.


The relationship between the sisters is vaguely similar to the creepy French nymphet teams who crop up in some 1970s Jean Rollin movies and Don’t Deliver Us From Evil – though this might be a cultural thing rather than a specific influence since it’s hard to believe that Ambrosiani has seen enough movies to draw from this particular well, especially when the film otherwise feels made in the shadow of recent crazes for found footage and haunted house cinema.  An impressive debut, to say the least.




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