The Movie Waffler New Release Review - SOME OTHER WOMAN | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - SOME OTHER WOMAN

New Release Review - SOME OTHER WOMAN
A wife finds herself replaced by a mysterious woman while staying on a tropical island with her husband.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Joel David Moore

Starring: Ashley Greene, Tom Felton, Amanda Crew, Brooke Lyons

Some Other Woman poster

Director Joel David Moore's Some Other Woman is the latest in a recent line of psychological thriller and horror movies that have utilised the setting of an idyllic holiday destination. Movies like Old, Do Not Disturb, Influencer, What You Wish For and most popular of all, TV's The White Lotus, have opted to set their dark storylines against sunny backdrops. The setting here is the Cayman Islands (though the incongruous ethnic makeup of the supporting cast suggests it was shot in the Pacific rather than the Caribbean), where Eve (Amanda Crew) has relocated with her husband Peter (Tom Felton) while he completes some lucrative real estate deals.

You would think anyone would give their right arm to live in such a locale but Eve misses her Rhode Island roots and is struggling to settle in. Following several failed attempts to conceive, she fears that Peter has given up on the idea of ever having a child with her, and he's begun referring to their planned nursery as "the extra room."

Some Other Woman review

When Eve begins to see a mysterious woman (Ashley Greene) lurking in her vicinity, Peter thinks she's going loco. And when Eve's reality becomes increasingly distorted she worries he might be right. Eve's favourite mug is replaced by one she doesn't recognise. Peter swears they were engaged in the Caymans rather than Amsterdam, as she recalls, something backed up by a portrait she has no memory of ever posing for. She finds her receptionist job taken by her stalker, who Peter assures her is their friend Renata.

Moore and his writing team of Yuri Baranovsky, Angela Gulner and Josh Long crib from several influences yet manage to create a movie that has a unique take on relationships. Eve's world slowly being replaced by one she doesn't recognise recalls a Twilight Zone episode where a woman's family members disappear one by one from a portrait, and the idea of Eve being replaced by Renata harks back to 'Mirror Image', the Twilight Zone episode in which Vera Miles' life is absorbed by a doppelganger until she becomes irrelevant. It's the latter that Some Other Woman skews closest to, albeit with a bit of David Lynch's Lost Highway thrown in for good measure. The idea of Renata as a spirit of a lonely woman emerging from the sea is congruent with several Asian folk tales, and Some Other Woman plays like a reverse engineered J-Horror, one that lets us get to know the woman who will eventually become a lank-haired ghoul.

Some Other Woman review

Some Other Woman deploys this cocktail of horror and thriller tropes for a unique look at how women too often lose touch with themselves in order to play the role of wife and mother. We're told early on that Eve misses her old life as a café singer, something the materialistic Peter can't relate to. In order to make her marriage work she's had to morph into the woman Peter wants her to be, a zombie who stands passively by his side and supports his endeavours while sacrificing her own ambitions. The film also cleverly evokes the idea of having to endure your partner's friends, as Eve finds herself discarded by Peter's circle as she gradually vanishes. The movie's most disturbing moment sees strangers bump into Eve, who doesn't exist in their plane, and a dog barking at what others see as an empty couch, but which Eve is sleeping upon in her reality.

Moore's film is also an interesting deconstruction of how movies often pit two women against one another, allowing the audience to sit back and watch the sparks fly. It's an enduring format as old as the talkies but it doesn't really have a male equivalent, and it often relies on rather sexist ideas about female relationships. Eve and Renata begin as adversaries but when Renata takes over Eve's life she discovers that it's not all she dreamed of. In suggesting that women should focus on supporting one another rather than compromising themselves to please men, the film has an unabashedly feminist message.

Some Other Woman review

Greene is very good in switching from a foxy "bitch" to a sympathetic figure who finds herself trapped in a life she doesn't belong in. Best known for his villainous role in the Harry Potter films, Felton is relatably horrid as a man whose insensitivity towards the woman he claims to love makes you want to throw rotten fruit at the screen. It's Crew however who moors the film to its theme of the paranoia and regret that can consume people who find themselves in relationships they're convinced they belong in. Some Other Woman is a gaslighting thriller of sorts, but it's one in which the protagonist has gaslit herself into believing all is well in her marriage. Sometimes it's better to wander lonely as a cloud, or a sea spirit.

Some Other Woman is on UK/ROI VOD from February 12th.

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