It’s a story high on mystery, and that comes across particularly heavily
The age of marketing films as a genre they simply do not fit needs to stop. The Little Stranger very carefully portrays itself as a period horror story, when in fact it is far more of a drama with a small supernatural element. By focusing on this horror, not only does it alienate many of those who would actually enjoy the film, but it gives unrealistic expectations to an audience who may otherwise actually support the picture.
Doctor Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is called to Hundreds Hall, a grand mansion in the country. With vivid memories of a visit as a child, Faraday becomes fascinated by the house, and its owners, frequently visiting the Ayres’ in the hope of discovering the truth behind their deep secrets.
With so much focus is given to the quaint and country life, The Little Stranger is absolutely a drama shrouded in mystery. Gleeson’s uptight and self-absorbed lead gives a particularly cold welcome, and this distancing allows for the mystery, though not directly, to slowly seep into the film’s core message.
The production value is excellent, with a beautiful setting and tremendous costume design, breathing life into an often stale and unappealing branch of film making. Director Lenny Abrahamson utilises this cold nature particularly well, alienating the audience from the story, and its characters.
With support performances from Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling, The Little Stranger has a strong cast acting as a real cornerstone, offering exactly what was needed to truly embrace its supernatural and often awkward message. This message doesn’t always make sense, but it seems that that was part of the intention. It’s a story high on mystery, and that comes across particularly heavily.
But as mentioned, The Little Stranger is let down by its marketing; Just as films often are in the current market. It shouldn’t be the case, but occasionally a film’s marketing is vital to the way it is perceived by its audience. There’s no real precedent for it, but the way films such as The Little Stranger are going, there certainly will be soon.
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