Exploration of the relationship between a man and the boy he holds captive in his basement. Simultaneously disturbing and mudane, it is engaging throughout and there is a remarkable amount of tension when the characters are doing very ordinary things. Will he get caught or won’t he? Will the boy die? Is it rape time? These are the tensions that percolate as Michael goes to work and comes home every day, pretending to live a life no different than his peers. Very different from the sensationalism that this story would be elevated to if handled by the news media or Hollywood. It’s very humanizing and nonjudgmental, and shows a world that the viewer has not seen before. There are 2 films this year at TIFF with this title, this one is the Austrian one, the other is an Indian film, so try not to confuse them. 8/10
A couple moves into a house previously occupied by the wife’s deceased parents, and soon start hearing strange noises. Oooh, scary. More than just a ghost story, but still has familiar elements. Nice performance by newcomer Gretchen Lodge in a difficult role. The story took a little while before it really got going, and there was some confusion about some elements in the film (eg. the unknown woman in the POV “video” footage, was it video from her past or was she stalking a stranger? That is answered at the end of the film, but that nugget would be helpful earlier with a proper introduction of the character). Lots of POV shakey cam, but the DOP had enough sense to use short lenses so it isn’t nauseatingly shakey like Blair Witch or Sleepless Night. One aspect that I do object to is that the actors actually don’t have very much face time. The camera is often following behind them, so there is lots of the backs of their heads or 1/4 shots.