This ambitious, epic-length psycho-thriller feels like a one-man effort from director David Simpson, who also scripted (based on his own novel), takes a major role, edited and contributed the (impressive) music and sound design. It takes several big risks – not least its running time – and involves radical shifts of perspective between almost self-contained chapters. Simpson claims The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as an inspiration, but there are also a few echoes here of Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built – albeit with more four-episodes-over-a-week ITV thriller twists.
In the first chapter, nice British guy Jordan (Andrew Robert Wilson) is trying to end a relationship with the dangerously bipolar Bridget (Bridget Graham), precipitating a crisis. Then, we switch to Bridget, who adopts a slightly less scary hair colour, as she is advised by mental health care professionals and heads out to a remote house to work through her issues – she’s financially supported by her fed-up brother Tom (Simpson), but otherwise on her own, and struggling to distinguish reality from her own imaginings. This dreamlike, hallucinatory section of the film – which has beautiful location work and really highlights that soundscape – is its strongest stretch, but events then pivot and a whole other storyline emerges, eventually bringing in a terminally ill Sheriff (Moishe Teichman), a suspicious psychiatric social worker (Hayley Gray) and Bridget’s sister-in-law (Samin Saadat).
It feels at times as if the second half of the film is an extended powerpoint lecture on How to Be Evil by a sociopath – brilliantly acted, but ultimately wearing – who tries to talk their opponents to death well before deploying any actual violence. The long haul does get longer as the film moves into yet more complete changes of viewpoint and protagonist and location, but there’s a lot of unsettling stuff here – note the way a minor disagreement about a literary allusion (who’s chasing who in Frankenstein) very early on in the proceedings sets up the course of the drama two hours later, and indeed seems to propel the storyline into a possible Dangerous to Know Part 2.