Introduction: I am always amazed that reviews of Australian films released in non-English speaking countries are so rarely translated and circulated back home. So here’s a scoop for Film Alert: Positif magazine’s evaluation of Hounds of Love – oddly retitled (in English!) in France as Love Hunters – which appeared in the ‘From A to Z’ capsule-review section of the October 2017 issue. The reviewer, Bernard Génin, is a regular Positif contributor whose specialities include animation, surrealism, and popular genres such as horror. – Adrian Martin
|Stephen Curry, Emma Booth, Hounds of Love|
A master stroke by Australian Ben Young, unafraid of the déjà-vu side of the subject (kidnapping and captivity of a young woman by a pair of perverse killers) of his first film. Rarely have we experienced such anguish before the screen!
One night in Perth, in an atomised suburb that is laid out in straight lines, monotonous, flattened by the sun, Vicky (Ashleigh Cummings) disobeys her parents and heads out to a dance. She finds herself tied hand and foot to a bed in the house of a diabolical couple.
Thus begins a series of terrifying variations on a theme often treated in cinema – from William Wyler’s The Collector (1965) to Leonard Kastle’s The Honeymoon Killers (1970 – a cult film that this one often recalls).
We pass from the viewpoint of the victim to that of the partner of the killer – he’s an absolute monster, and she seems almost totally dependent on him, until certain cracks in their relationship become evident.
Supported by peerless actors, the director constantly plays on our nerves. Only a very cagey person could get out of the nightmare this captive endures! The closing scene comes as a grand finale after a series of violent emotions.
|Emma Booth, Hounds of Love|
As the tormented jailer, Emma Booth (famous in Australia) is a revelation. Ben Young has already shot a second film with her, Extinction, in Serbia. If it displays the same level of mastery, we can expect new shivers of terror.
|"Un suspense total", "Un thriller proche de la perfection"|
French Poster, Hounds of Love