The title of this film could have been “Psychologically damaged Beauty and a deranged Beast.”
First of all, this intriguing little film taking place on a small island is not a horror movie. To the contrary, it tells the story of an emotionally damaged young girl and her romantic relationship with a strange poacher who is suspected of killing young girls who are found partially buried in the surrounding farm community.
The film proves to be devilishly enticing and it ends up working on several levels. First of all, Jessie Buckley is wonderful playing Moll, a young woman haunted by a previous experience in middle school. When her distant mother, played by the talented Geraldine James, gives her a birthday party, she flees to a bar out of boredom. Dancing with a stranger until dawn, they end up walking on a beach where he tries to sexually assault her. As shown in the trailer, her attacker is suddenly shot in the cheek, and he runs in fear when the poacher referred to above rises from a small hill holding a rifle that he is reloading.
What follows is a personal relationship between these two that provokes criticism at Ms. Buckley’s home as well as most social settings. On top of that, the stranger, played in memorable fashion by Johnny Flynn, proves to be an iconoclast of unknown intentions. Suspected by the police of being the killer, you are left wondering if he is truly attracted to Ms. Buckley or intends to find a way to make her his next victim.
The film has an emotional power that can’t be denied. In one scene, as Ms. Buckley wrestles with the torment on whether her lover is a social outcast or a demon seed, she crawls into one of the holes where a victim was found, putting dirt in her mouth which she swallows.
Whether you are interested or disgusted will determine whether you take the time to see this film. Let me just say that I was interested.