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Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, Zawe Ashton, Stephen Rea

Director: Neil Jordan

Although it never entirely loses its grip, this stalker thriller eventually becomes as batty as its villainess.

Short-order waitress Frances (Moretz), who has been sharing a flat with Erica (Monroe) since her mother's death, finds a briefcase-style handbag on the tube and returns it to its owner, French widow Greta (Huppert).

A seemingly harmless friendship develops, until, during a candlelit dinner at Greta's, Frances is asked to find fresh candles and, opening the wrong cabinet (the film leans heavily on such coincidences) finds a clutch of similar handbags, with various girls' names and numbers attached.

Frances sensibly flees, but it's only the beginning of a nightmare scenario in which the older woman pursues her relentlessly.

Eventually, Frances is drugged and imprisoned by Greta but by this time the film, like Greta, has lost touch with reality. And you can't tell me that Frances, having cut her captor's finger off and knocked her out with a rolling pin, wouldn't have had the gumption to smash a widow and escape before her tormentor recovers. But no, she heads for the cellar!

Her father (Feore) hires a private eye (Rea), so we can guess what's going to happen to him at Greta's house, just like Martin Balsam in Psycho.

Huppert is spectacularly miscast, while Moretz rather overdoes the trembling lower lip as her victim. But Monroe is quite good as the sturdy and resourceful friend.

David Quinlan

USA/Ireland/Canada 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Apr 2019