Greta

Dir. Neil Jordan

Within the first few minutes of Greta, Frances is seen sitting next to her flatmate, Erica, in a cinema with a tear running down her face. “This is what I would do with my mother, watching a soppy film in the afternoon,” Frances comments, trying to accept the recent passing of her mother. We learn that Frances, fresh out of college and living with Erica (Maika Monroe), strikes up a friendship with a much older woman, Greta, and events move on from there.

As might be expected from a Neil Jordan film, black humour is liberally sprinkled throughout. On seeing how Erica is being stalked and pictures of her - in a bar, then in the street, then on a bus - are emailed to Frances (Chloe Grace), Erica makes light of the situation by saying, “She does take a good picture”.

The script allows Isabelle Huppert, as Greta, to create a full-blown, over the top villain who still remains captivating; a female equivalent of Jack Nicholson’s display in The Shining. If “Here’s Johnny!” is a catchphrase to strike a chill in the heart, then Greta’s equivalent could be “Mon Cherie” - a seemingly warm, affectionate utterance that’s served with a chilling malevolence.

Things aren’t quite what they seem on the surface of the friendship between Greta and Frances, so slowly but surely the relationship unravels. “This city will eat you up,” Erica tells Frances, but sometimes you have to make your own mistakes in order to grow up.

Whilst the audience may know what’s coming in terms of the plot, part of the pleasure is derived from seeing the context and whether anything new and enjoyable is added to the stalker genre. The answer is yes. There are comparisons to be made with Single White Female or even Red Riding Hood, but only the best bits.

When the bodies start to pile up and require disposal, what’s easier than just putting them out with the trash and letting the refuse collectors take them away?

What is delivered is an effective and skilfully delivered affair, completely suited to viewing on a soppy afternoon with friends.

Ged Camera