Robert (Danny James), a bearded and apparently easygoing therapist, tries to get through to Parker (Rachell Sean), a surly but quick-witted patient … over the course of their sessions, the relationship between doctor and patient blurs and it becomes apparent that they both have dark secrets and possibly hidden agendas. Writer-director Stephen Simmons shoots this – virtually a two-character piece – in black and white, and gets round the inherent talkiness of the premise with a few sequences of the characters glooming around on their own. A long list of inspirational industry figures – including Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski – in the end credits signals that this is a #metoo movie, and it has quite a bit in common with Hard Candy, albeit with a more extreme, gruesome finish.
Sean and James are good, but are more types than characters – we come into this story too late, and the shrink is presented as a patsy overdue for humiliation and punishment rather than as the manipulative villain Parker is out to bring down … similarly, our avenger must have a bottled-up backstory there’s no time to go into. Fans of plague doctor masks, which have featured quite often as signifiers of cruelty in the last few years, can add another title to their long-beaked geek filmography.
Here’s the FrightFest listing.
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