Thursday, October 08, 2015
Fresh off the unexpected success of her first novel, Paula Martin feels pressure from her publicist to write a follow-up. However writer’s block and clinical depression obfuscate her sophomore effort. Desperate for another bestseller Paula is sent by her agent to her uncle’s sprawling Gothic Mansion home in the English countryside to rediscover her muse. Things get off to a rocky start when Paula trips on the (scariest) cellar staircase and severely injures her hand. Fortunately her problems are resolved when she is assigned a new assistant, Linda, who takes over the typing duties as Paula dictates her novel. Initially the two get along well however Paula soon sours on Linda when she learns that Linda has been re-writing her manuscript at night while Paula slumbers. Over time Linda becomes more controlling and demanding and eventually dangerous. Weakened by depression and her hand injury Paula desperately tries to escape her increasingly dire situation.
‘Stalker’ is apparently a remake of the 1976 British horror film Expose. I’ve never seen Expose so I’m going to stop talking about it. I feel like there have been many movies about authors who are sent to the countryside to work on their next novel however I’ll be damned if I can recall a single example (ok, The Shining, happy?). In real life Paula would have been hospitalized in a psychiatric inpatient unit to address severe depression and she would have been taken to the hospital following her very severe hand injury (a fucking nail went completely through her palm!). However, that would have been boring and I digress. The plot of ‘Stalker’ is certainly familiar and the director borrows heavily from better movies. Still, the two leads are excellent, the mansion is a terrific set piece, and although it’s a slow burn when there are eruptions of violence it is both surprising and unsettling. Worth your time.