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First Look Review - SILHOUETTE

silhouette review
A woman grows increasingly disturbed in the wake of her husband's infidelity.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Mitch McLeod

Starring: April Hartman, Tom Zembrod, Jessica Dawn Willis, Savannah Solsbery, Kim Foster

silhouette poster



Amanda (April Hartman) is in therapy; she’s discussing with her sympathetic psychiatrist how she is still haunted by the death of her daughter Sarah, how it has made her question God's plan and even struggle with her faith after losing her child under such tragic circumstances.

She and her husband Jack (Tom Zembrod) decide to move to the country, “for a fresh start”, he says, but she seems reluctant to embrace this idea and is an indifferent passenger.

When they arrive at the new home he compensates for her gloom by being overly bright and enthusiastic, but she’s really not having any of it; the fresh start and ‘second chance’ he spoke about seems to be out of their reach.

silhouette review

After Amanda’s tell-tale vomiting is revealed to be the Pregnancy Indicator we suspected, the audience is treated to a prolonged sex scene that ends in pain for Jack and tears for Amanda, after which she is beset by nightmarish visions.

The next day, neighbour Dawn (Jessica Dawn Willis) visits with a welcoming basket full of goodies and a hospitable smile; and while Amanda has nothing for her but awkward stares and disdain, husband Jack snatches the basket and exclaims loudly over what it contains! Rude much?

Amanda tells Dawn about her husband’s propensity for being unfaithful and declares that she’s “just his type”, which understandably makes Dawn uncomfortable and she beats a hasty retreat.

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Haunted by imagery of her daughter and feeling misunderstood by her husband, Amanda is not in a good place and she’s left alone for hours while he of course takes up that philandering he was already considering when Dawn dropped by.

As Amanda’s mental health deteriorates, it is never really clear how much of this is brought on by husbandry gaslighting and how much was already there; what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Either way, watching her thank him for all he’s done for her after he’s spent the night in another woman’s bed feels quite nauseating to say the least.

silhouette review

This all leads to a fairly explosive and unexpectedly haunting finale that I didn’t see coming; it’s just a shame the stuff before it was so dreary.

Written and competently directed by Mitch McLeod (Arc), this film lacks in horror elements but stands up as a reasonable thriller, though the mid section is particularly baggy. The dialogue sometimes felt less than natural and some scenes felt stretched beyond their usefulness. The first hour is like a kitchen sink drama with the occasional ghostly vision to break up the saga.

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It touches on the big theological questions but seems to drop these grand designs midway through the film to concentrate more on the domestic shenanigans.

It tackles the heavy subject of grief in a predictable and obvious way, what with Amanda moping about the house with dark circles under her eyes and an air of almost belligerence. Hartman does her best with the material but she shines best when she is given a more substantial pallet of emotions to create with. In the thankless roles of ‘lying husband’ and ‘conflicted neighbour’, Zembrod and Willis provide solid performances.

silhouette review

The cinematography by Marc Rouse deserves a special mention, particularly for the exceptionally well shot ’vision’ sequences.

I will forgive all manner of films that give me a good ending, and though I did find sections of this film quite tedious, the finale pulled it all together nicely and I’ll admit I was completely drawn in by the end.

As a horror this barely passes muster, but for a drama with a sting in its tail you could do worse.

A 2020 release is expected for Silhouette.




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