THE LITTLE STRANGER (12A)
SPECTRES of the past lash out with horrifying consequences in The Little Stranger, an ambiguous thriller of simmering desires set inside a crumbling mansion in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Dr Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson, pictured) is summoned to Hundreds Hall, which is owned by physically and mentally scarred soldier Roderick Ayres (Will Poulter), who exhibits symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Roderick lives in the property with downtrodden sister Caroline (Ruth Wilson), imperious mother Angela (Charlotte Rampling) and a housemaid, Betty (Liv Hill).
The veteran is convinced that a dark force in the house means him harm.
Faraday becomes a regular visitor to the house and a dutiful companion to spinster Caroline.
During a dinner party, a young guest is mauled by the family’s normally placid labrador. Soon after, Faraday discovers scrawls on a wall purportedly left by Angela’s dead daughter Susan (Tipper SeifertCleveland). As Angela’s mental state unravels, Faraday steps in to oversee her treatment, clashing with Caroline about the best course of action.
Adapted from Sarah Waters’ gothic novel, A Little Stranger is an impressive exercise in mood and inference, which holds us in a steely grip for almost two hours.