Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Stalker (2022)

My notes on Stalker (2022)

A (mostly) two-person stuck-in-a-lift twisty thriller, which means that from the outset you can expect revelations about both characters and a shifting power balance.  Rose Hepburn (Sophie Skelton), an actress (she says she prefers ‘actor’ but slips into the older form when she wants to make an ‘as the actress said to the bishop’ joke) who has replaced a mysteriously-disappeared star in the lead of a horror movie, finds the main lift of the three-star hotel the production has put her in out of order and has to resort to a very shaky freight elevator … in which she is joined by Daniel Reed (Stuart Brennan), a bespectacled, timid, twitchy guy who can’t keep his story straight but says he’s a cameraman who shoots b-roll on the set, but might (as per the title) be a stalker – though it’s ambiguous as to whether he’s fixated on Rose or the woman she’s replaced.  The lift gets stuck, no one is manning the security camera desk, the alarm bell is out of order, and phone service is intermittent whenever Rose tries to make calls to services or people who might help … and Daniel claims not to have a phone, which Rose professes to find unbelievable, like several other things about him (he’s never seen Die Hard).  Though she may also have her own agenda and definitely has her own set of secrets.  Written by Chris Watt and directed by Steve Johnson, Stalker does well to keep the interest up in a necessarily static situation, with both leads grandstanding when necessary – then underplaying to take the edge off the melodrama.  Between the plot stuff, we get a lot of chatter about trivia – the meanings of names, showbusiness, phone apps – which generally turns out to be relevant to the story.  The home stretch gets very gruesome, in a manner we’re perhaps a bit too familiar with.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.




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