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New Release Review (DVD) - THE PERFECT HUSBAND

A couple descend into psychosis during a weekend at a remote cabin.





Review by Ren Zelen (@renzelen)

Directed by: Lucas Pavetto

Starring: Gabriella Wright, Bret Roberts, Carl Wharton, Tania Bambaci



The principal actors, Gabriella Wright and Bret Roberts, try to make the most of their lacklustre script, and although they’re not the most credible of characters, at least the viewer is not wishing them both dead by the first act… not quite.


A married couple decide to spend a weekend in a remote cabin to try and come to terms with the tragedy of their baby being stillborn. However, the proposed romantic getaway takes a turn for the worse when secrets and suspicions come to the fore.

Initially, the couple have one’s heartfelt sympathy – how emotionally devastating it must be to give birth to a much anticipated and wanted baby only to find it is not breathing. It is a trauma millions of couples have to come to terms with - they grieve and then somehow find the strength to try again.


The first 50 minutes of the movie (yes, that’s FIFTY minutes) concerns setting up the relationship that exists between the couple who have suffered this tragedy. The wife, Viola (Gabriella Wright), is in a fragile emotional and mental state after the stillbirth and is taken off to a remote location to be nursed and cosseted by her doting husband Nicola (Bret Roberts).

However, it’s pretty clear from the outset that the trip rests on an emotional knife-edge – Viola is subject to sudden mood swings and irrational flounces and Nicola is excessively ardent and more than a little jittery.

Odd behaviour ensues from both parties; they appear to be harbouring secrets and warily circle each other in a dance that alternates between attraction and repulsion. Viola in particular begins to exhibit some particularly incongruous and random behaviour. Then, a romantic dinner degenerates into fury as, giving in to a nagging suspicion, Nicola abruptly turns into a different man – a sadistic and maniacal wife abuser.

Viola becomes the terrified victim of his jealousy and vindictiveness….or does she? Nothing here is quite what it seems as the erstwhile troubled couple descend into violence and madness.


The first problem I had was with the premise – millions of couples have had to cope with this kind of tragedy and most manage to refrain from turning to murderous psychotic rage to alleviate their grief. It seemed a little tasteless to suggest this kind of event as the springboard as to why these characters might. ‘Oh yeah’, I thought once the movie had descended into torture and gore, ‘THESE two would have made dandy parents, but only if you consider a couple of violent psychotics as an ideal mom and dad’.

It is probably safer to assume that the protagonists were already several fries short of a happy meal and were merely tipped over the edge, in which case, certainly not the best candidates for parenthood anyway.

I don’t wish to give out any spoilers, but I can say that the ultimate ‘twist’ at the denouement isn’t quite as much of a surprise as it is intended to be, mainly because the actions of the character in question have been so absurd at times that one can’t help but make certain assumptions, which turn out to be true.

My other problem was with the script, which was pretty dire. I gave it some leeway since this is an Italian movie made in English, but the decision to use English in an Italian setting merely served to put the viewer at an even further remove. I found myself wishing that they had just used subtitles, if it meant that in Italian we might have been given livelier or more engaging dialogue, or at least some vigorous gesturing.


The Perfect Husband makes an attempt to play with its audience, trying to make them guess which horror sub-genre it will go to. It fosters a rather slow moving pace at times, hoping that this may add an atmosphere of foreboding and build up the characters before the horror actually starts.

Director Lucas Pavetto uses crisp, clear photography with effective use of his sets and locations. The principal actors, Gabriella Wright and Bret Roberts, try to make the most of their lacklustre script, and although they’re not the most credible of characters, at least the viewer is not wishing them both dead by the first act… not quite.



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