Ari: From the very beginning, one can see that the characters and their construction is bizarre. One is stranger than the next, punctuated by some elements of normalcy that make the others seem jarring by comparison. The film is adept at constantly keeping the tension high with the soundtrack, poor lighting with very dull colors, sharp transitions and a constant, frantic movement that keeps you waiting for something awful to happen. The design, from the Manhattan townhomes to the dated architecture, the stairs, the cinematography, make the film seem Hitchcockian, almost like a remake (similar to Rear Window). The constant pausing on details, like a wine stained newspaper, or a drawing shoved into a drawer, the tedious details of her life being shot and shown make it seem like a mystery and every detail might be important when the house becomes a crime scene, adding a level of psychological tension. Near the middle, the movie takes a turn for the surreal with hallucinogenic elements, abrupt transitions, and a mixing of light, sound, jarring diagonal cinematography, and reality shattering plot contradictions that make you question her eyes, for a moment making the viewer seem ungrounded from reality. The ending is cliched and neat, very 2021, but the whole movie, like a fast moving roller coaster over a parking lot, seems like a lot of fun with no beauty to be seen. 6/8 slices of a personal pizza.
Jordan: This is a film that plays on the world’s current fear of the outdoors, the alien, the unknown. The protagonist is a woman with agoraphobia who witnesses increasingly strange and ultimately violent behavior from the windows of her opulent residence in New York. The film also deals with mental health, believing all women, and even breaking the glass ceiling (literally, well I guess it’s a skylight). The main character is an interesting choice in 2021 when we’ve been inundated with videos of PMC wine moms dubbed Karens growing hysterical and calling the police on anyone that doesn’t give them the deference they feel entitled to. The plot is pretty boilerplate, but does provide some suspense and a few decent jump scares. It may also cause people to think more critically about mental health, though it does feed off the stereotype of the insane old maid, locked in her domicile casting out curses on her neighbors. The climax is the aforementioned “breaking of the glass ceiling” showing that our protagonist was in fact the heroine all along and thus women are powerful and can accomplish all things even when dangerously mixing pills and alcohol while ignoring advice from their physicians. The film is a trope-filled thriller, its nothing revolutionary, but if you’ve already exhausted all your alternatives it’s there. 1.5 Hilary Clintons/Adequate Mental Health Care