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‘The Little Stranger’: Film Review – A follow up to ‘Room’

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The Little Stranger Crew:

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Liv Hill, Charlotte Rampling
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Screenplay: Lucinda Coxon
Based on the novel by: Sarah Waters
Executive Producers: Cameron McCracken, Daniel Battsek, Andrew Lowe, Celine Haddad, Tim O’Shea
Producers: Gail Egan, Andrea Calderwood, Ed Guiney
Cinematographer: Ole Bratt Birkeland

The Little Stranger, as the name says is a haunted house melodrama that came from Lenny Abrahamson, the one who made the movie, Room. The room has received acclaim from all over the world because of the ambiance and the environment the film managed to create. Just like Room, this movie is also based on the novel and is told to be scary. The plot of the movie revolves around Dr. Faraday who remembers that he wants to be an aristocrat from the start. However in 1919, during his adolescence, he becomes obsessed with a mansion known as Hundreds Hall, the home of Ayers family.

Just like every kid, this common village boy physician wanted to have something that he couldn’t have. After WWII, the adult Faraday remembers his liking for the mansion and realizes that he can fulfill his youthful desire by persuading the Ayer clan. When the remaining clan is known to be on the decline, he enlists his service to run the estate and tries to put a literal pull on people living in the mansion. After the arrival of Faraday, the events start taking turns. While the wrath of the story is not clear, the reason why Lenny Abrahamson thought that the plot would make a good ghost story is not clear as well. The plot of the movie has been adopted from the novel with the same title, by Sarah Waters back in 2009. The British novelist has written this as a follow up to the movie Room, and the Academy Award-winning director has decided to make a movie out of it.

When you put both the movies side by side, you can observe an affinity between them. Both the movies are involved with the haunted spaces where the spaces imprison people inside them. Abrahamson has excelled in putting the right performers in the cast so that they make you uneasy as they live within these decaying walls. Will Poulter, a battle-damaged person plays the man of the house while Charlotte Rampling plays the matriarch who masks the pain of her daughter’s death. Most of the cast in The Little Stranger is not concerned about supernatural things other than Dr. Faraday who wants to blend into the environment but only fails to insinuate.

However, being a man of science, Faraday denies that there won’t be any unearthly happenings in this world even when a young visitor to the house is mauled by a poltergeist and is subjected to insanity and as well as the suicidal tendencies. All the members of the Ayers family started being the infectants of these activities and there’s nothing so good that the doctor can do about them. While Dr. Faraday throughout the movie is shown as the person who has a rigid posture, a contemptuous state and stiff lip in the form of a mustache, everything adding up to the perfection that he aims. While because of the origin, Faraday tries to remake himself into a blue-blood parody with Caroline, as his primary target. In order to get hold of the mansion, he wants to romance with this cursed daughter while the results turn extremely tragic without his own knowledge. The series of events have been well written by the novel writer that they are adapted into the movie in the exact same way.

Gleeson excels in performing this role with a full-fledged commitment that his gestures are precise and intelligent throughout. He has complemented the movie in ways that no other actor can and this made the film more than what it already is. Despite that, the cinematographer Birkeland should be commended because of the bicker shots he has managed to take, inside the mansion. The creepy factor of the movie is only elevated because of his angles and camera techniques.

However, with this movie, it is evidently clear that Abrahamson is showing interest in the genre trappings of the movie and is willing to race through the chilling moments that throw sneers in his director. He tries to establish metaphors in the story so that all the elements are stored in the heart with the ghost being a subtle drive in the movie. While this movie is not the usual ‘ghost inside a haunted house’ kind of film, it contains a bit of resentment and also the fate of the hypocritic man and his oath. The movie contains a spot-on diagnosis that speaks directly to the audience with the flesh to support the plot and therefore, puts the picture in the Halloween heap.

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