Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - Film Reviews -

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.

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