Hounds of Love is one of those films that most people can only stomach once. Sharing a namesake, and maybe some themes, with the hit song by Kate Bush, Australian director Ben Young’s debut film is a deeply depraved and shockingly cruel vision of suburbia.
The traditional image of family and suburban utopia is completely shattered, leaving only broken people, a lot of screaming, and bodily fluids. More comparable to Saw than Green Room in the school of claustrophobic and gory horror-thriller hybrids, Young’s film has a menace that bubbles underneath the surface of the outstanding first 20 minutes of the film, and completely boils over for the rest.
While Hounds of Love isn’t quite as emotionally bankrupt as Saw, it’s not exactly fleshed out either. The one character that shows the most shading is Evelyn White (Booth), one of the serial killer partners that picks up the protagonist, poor Vicki Maloney (Cummings). Evelyn is a violent sadist, but not without her doubts about her relationship to John (Curry), her partner in crime.
The rest of the cast is fairly one-note and vaguely explored over the duration of the film, Vicki showing plenty of intelligence but for the most part remaining a helpless and passive victim, which is disappointing. Hounds of Love also squanders a perfect excuse to have a Kate Bush song to score an action sequence as what could have been setup for an unforgettable thriller that demands a rewatch.
Despite the potential of the brilliantly constructed opening act (and compelling use of slow-mo), Hounds of Love disappoints as well as disgusts by leaning too far into ‘torture porn’, all the while leaving far too little to the imagination.
CAST: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry, Susie Porter
DIRECTOR: Ben Young
WRITER: Ben Young
SYNOPSIS: Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realises she must drive a wedge between them if she is to survive.