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Honestly, I was highly let down by this movie. I was expecting a psychological horror film loaded with isolation and blood, but instead I got a kind of dark horror comedy.
A surprise, but a welcome one, I guess. First off, let’s talk about the saving grace of the film, the characters. Robert Carlyle and Guy Pearce lead the fray of the movie’s talented ensemble. Carlyle gives a magnetic performance as a chameleon of a man—slipping into different personalities with absolute ease and creating some ingenious, slimy, and satanic personalities along the way.
Pearce is a great lead as a war coward forced to step up. His evolution is gradual but powerful all the same. The rest of the cast are a mix of forgettable or overly acted characters.
Then there’s the plot. The first twenty minutes are a mess. The sound editing is awful, the editing in general is awful, and it can’t find even ground between comedy and drama. However, when Carlyle shows up, things get much better. The story straightens out, the tension starts to rise, and the story really kicks in.
We get some great exposition, Greta character moments, and a satisfying build up and resolution. Then there’s the third and finale act, which is a surprisingly effective mix of carnival comedy and horror.
It was well done, out of nowhere, but still a fascinating mix. The characters are at their best, the story is still fascinating, and the movie ends on a good note. I wanted to like this film more, but the tone and style is a mess. The theme is everywhere and the beginning is just lazy.
Overall, the story had two strong leads and a good second and third act. Even though the beginning is bad in every aspect, the middle and end couldn’t have been better.