95 minutes| U.K.| 2011| Colour| D-Cinema

An unsettling study of the pressures of domesticity; an affecting essay in the redemptive potency of male friendship; a terrifying confrontation with the brutality lurking just beneath the everyday: Ben Wheatley’s startling new film is all of these and more, though to call it ‘the most original British horror film in decades’ offers a tantalising hint of the white-knuckle journey it delivers. We start in Mike Leigh territory, a pointed look at a nouveau riche lifestyle slowly curdling for uptight former soldier Neil Maskell and his trophy wife MyAnna Buring, though the arrival of his cheery best mate Michael Smiley, the presence of heavy weaponry in the garage and suggestions that they’re assassins-for-hire moves the story on somewhat. There’s still some way to go before the jaw-dropping finale; suffice to say that this bleak, brilliantly-made, risk-taking venture is like some mind-expanding cocktail of David Lynch, Michael Haneke and Michael (Witchfinder General) Reeves. Fasten your safety belts, ladies and gents! (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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