In keeping with the theme of the last review, Ben Young’s 2017 Hounds of Love is also art-house horror.
From the opening slow-mo to the final frame, some two hours later you are kept on the edge of your seat. David Stratton’s assessment as a ‘little masterpiece of horror’ is noteworthy (even if somewhat skewed toward the home grown). Suburban Perth, circa 1987 has the requisite vibe of bland befitting the serial killer setting. If it weren’t such a tightly edited, well honed piece of story telling you’d be forgiven if you thought it true crime and not concocted by the talented debut director, Ben Young.
The serial killing couple of John and Evelyn White (Stephen Curry and Emma Booth) kidnap the hapless Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) who has the habit of sneaking out at night befriending strangers for pot. While not uncommon for the time, falling into the hands of John and Evelyn White surely is. And this to the strains of The Moody Blues’ Knights in White Satin never sounded so sinister.
Sensing instability in the kidnappers’ relationship, Vicki manages to drive a wedge between them as she utilizes what resources she has to survive.
Just as the best story tellers manage to create drama ‘between the lines’, Young cooks up the terror through suggestion and the imagined, and not merely through depiction.
This movie is quintessentially Australian for reasons more than its setting. International reviews make reference to the fact comparing Hounds of Love to such films as David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom. And it is worth noting a good deal of the film’s inspiration is based on very real crimes that continue to haunt West Perth. A must see (if you don’t mind being scared witless).
Directed by Ben Young
Emma Booth is Evelyn White
Stephen Curry is John White
Ashleigh Cummings is Vicki Maloney