Continuing the current run of female-directed horror, actor-turned-filmmaker Romola Garai delivers a startling exploration of guilt and retribution.
Tomaz (Alec Secăreanu, God’s Own Country) is an ex-soldier existing day-by-day on the streets of London. A seemingly charitable act by a nun (Imelda Staunton) leads him to sheltered accommodation with Magda (Carla Juri) and her dying mother (Anah Ruddin). Charged with looking after the property, Tomaz becomes aware of a strangeness in the house and before long learns of the existence of a demon. But its presence is not only a physical threat. Tomaz’s dreams become increasingly vivid, taking him back to a conflict he fought in and reminding him of his own actions during it.
Garai’s film is not only a charged and unsettling body horror, her play with the supernatural is an effective metaphor for the way women are treated in society, both during war and peacetime. But like the best horror, it balances its worldview with a plentiful supply of scares and more than enough visceral thrills.