Hounds of Love

12/29/2017 07:59

Film: Hounds of Love

Year: 2016

Director: Ben Young

Writer: Ben Young

Starring: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings and Stephen Curry



This film I actually first watched when I decided to do my first round up of films for the year. I binged watched a bunch of films during the month to make sure I could make a top ten list. This one really effected and when a local podcast was hosting a showing on the big screen, I decided to give it another viewing. The synopsis is Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings) is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors, she quickly realizes she must drive a wedge between them to survive.

We then start by seeing a bunch of girls who are in gym class. Their uniforms are short skirts and white sleeveless blouses. We then see a couple in a car, watching them. They’re John White (Stephen Curry) and his wife Evelyn (Emma Booth). School lets out and we see one young lady walking along the street. The couple comes up and offers her a ride. She reluctantly accepts. We then learn that this is in Perth, Australia back in 1987.

The film then gives us a duality of their sick routine with that of Vicki. She has a similar school uniform to the previous missing girl. Her parents are going through a divorce and her attitude is struggling because of it. She has a boyfriend, Jason (Harrison Gilbertson) who helps her by doing her school work. We learn that she resents her mother for leaving her father. When she goes to stay with her mother, she sneaks out.

While walking to the party, a car comes up to her. It is Evelyn and John. They offer her drugs and a ride. She reluctantly agrees. This begins the nightmare when she realizes the real reason they offer and what their plan actually is.

I had heard about this film from a few horror film podcasts I listen to. As I said above, I checked it out when filling in what I had seen for 2017 and my top 10 lists. I have to say that this film was quite interesting to me as well as disturbing. The realism of what is happening here definitely is a perk to the film. You have a controlling man that has a much darker side to him in John. He is very particular and he is a master manipulator. He is quite the despicable human being as well. There is an interesting dynamic that almost humanizes him though with these two ‘gangsters’ that he owes money to. They treat him like he treats Evelyn.

On the other side, you have Evelyn. She loves him and just wants a family with him. She is willing to help in this fetish he has in order to keep him. She actually has two kids that we learn about, that John holds over her head and uses it as leverage as well. He does provide a roof over her head and no matter what he does; she believes that she will get the perfect life she wants. There’s a bit of justification through the plan they have to get money from parents via the letters they make previous victim’s write. It seems a little implausible.

Then there’s Vicki. I love the realism with her in that she is a naïve young woman. She is leery about getting in the car with them, but the scary thing is, I’ve actually gone through the progression to do things I shouldn’t. I feel horrible what they do her. No matter how much though, she does keep trying to find a way to get out. There’s an interesting concept here as well of the airplanes that we see over head. People on them are escaping and this is a theme that Vicki is just trying to do the same. The other aspect there is driving the wedge between Evelyn and John. She can see the truth of their relationship and what he’s doing to her. It is believable for someone to do in her predicament.

The last aspect of the story elements would be the mother, Maggie (Susie Porter). She is blamed by Vicki for leaving Trevor (Damian de Montemas). Vicki is too angry to understand the dynamics there and that her mother deserves to be happy. I think it is great that Maggie is the one spearheading trying to find her, as it shows no matter what she says, does or thinks, Maggie loves her more than she realizes. I also love the dynamic here that Evelyn is partially projecting on to Vicki the guilt and longing she feels toward her children.

All of this is edited together in a way that never gets boring. The film runs 108 minutes, but to be honest, it doesn’t feel like it. We get introduced to the sinister couple and then from there we get to learn their routine juxtaposed to Vicki’s. Neither of them is normal, but it is for them. The kidnapping and torture is quite powerful, but I have to say, writer/director Ben Young masterfully shows us very little, leaving a lot to the imagination. I think that the ending is very fitting for this film and the tension that builds throughout really gets the anxiety going. I might have even teared up as well.

The acting I thought was really good after this viewing. Booth is an interesting character. She is insecure and has latched on to a man with a strong will in John. He on the other hand is a despicable human being. He is turned on by younger women, but has control issues were rape turns him on. He uses Evelyn as his accomplice. He also gives her glimmers of hope to keep her around. I thought together they are great and realistic. I also really liked Cummings. She has to do whatever she can to stay alive so she goes along with some things. I thought Montemas and Porter’s dynamic were good too. I also thought Gilbertson was okay in his role as well. The rest also round out the film for what is needed.

There isn’t a lot in the way of effects in this film, just bruising and some blood. Both were done practical and looked real. I had no issues there. The film is also shot very well in my opinion.

The last thing to cover here would be the soundtrack. It doesn’t necessarily stand out, but it really does help to enhance the dread of the scene. I don’t mind the score not being something that stands out if it doesn’t have to be. During the climax, I really noticed it and it really helped what they’re going for.

Now with that said though, I thought this was a really good film. I enjoyed the concept as much as you can with the subject matter and thought how it played out was interesting. There is a good dynamic between both couple who are the captors and how Vicki drives a wedge into them to survive. There is even a good dynamic between her parents who are separated, but have something that brings them together. The ending of the film definitely drives up the anxiety along with the pacing. The acting of the film was good. The effects were done practical so I had no issues. The score really did help to build the tension as well. I do think this film is good and definitely worth a viewing, especially if you want to see a realistic kidnapping film. It probably won’t be for everyone so keep that in mind.


My Rating: 9 out of 10