My notes on Girl at the Window
Mark Hartley, director of the Ozploitation documentary Not Quite Hollywood, turned to fiction with a remake of Patrick. Here, he channels Brian DePalma a little – with some split-screen suspense – while venturing into the relatively unexplored category of YA giallo … previously manifested in oddities like Let’s Kill Uncle and Disturbia. Widowed Barbara (Radha Mitchell) and her daughter Amy (Ella Newton) – still traumatised after the death of a husband/father who significantly fell into a disused mineshaft while birdwatching – move into a remote home on the outskirts of a town which has lately been terrorised by a serial killer who targets courting couples – killing the guy straight off, then abducting the girl for several days before dumping a corpse with a missing eye. Amy’s best friend Lian (Karis Kailani) discovers the latest corpse in a photo-booth and rather enjoys the brief notoriety, setting a sweetly callous tone that makes character and performer the film’s MVP, which is even acknowledged in an end credits promise to bring her back. Barbara starts dating their nieghbour Chris (Vince Colosimo), and Amy – addicted to using her Dad’s birding gear to spy on them – begins to see a lot of signs that he’s the killer … which naturally leads to a lot of embarrassment, family tension and frustration as her increasingly perilous stabs at amateur sleuthing get her in hot water. Meanwhile, in those abandoned mines, the latest victim is in a cage as her three days count down. Hartley relishes directorial flourishes – a POV shot from inside an eyesocket as the gouging is done – and there’s plenty of bait-and-switch in the plot, but Newton and Kailani give it a lot of heart.
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