Eva Green leans into scream queen territory in Nocebo, as a woman living with the after-effects of a tragic phone call at her fashion designer workplace. Delusions and convulsions are Christine’s new normal, while her husband Felix (Mark Strong) and daughter Bobs (Billie Gadsdon) merely exist around her, distant and unsure of her behaviour. Before long, Diana (Chai Fonacier) is at the front door, announcing herself as the caregiver Christine hired and has seemingly forgotten about.

The film is as subtle as a tonne of bricks; we are told from the moment Diana arrives that something is going on with her through disconcerting close-ups and secretive behaviour. Fonacier plays her as efficient and focused, but focused on what exactly takes time to unravel. Most of Nocebo’s bite takes place a little too late, but when it comes, it is incisive. Christine’s Instagrammable workplace is contrasted with flashbacks to Diana’s Filipino life working in a sweatshop. Tensions between those differences and what they are the product of bubble away throughout the movie, before inevitably boiling over into a confrontation founded upon exploitation and revenge.

The film is at its best when leaning into horror, like Christine’s hallucinations of gnarly wounds on colleagues and her vision of a tick-infested hound. While sometimes feeling like a home invasion, it is ultimately a much angrier story about the careless violence of capitalism, and how those who sanction it are thousands of miles away. The film takes care to represent Filipino culture through food, folklore and rituals, giving life to people Nocebo says are forgotten.

Its pacing issues let it down somewhat, as it is concerned with dragging its mystery out before rushing through its conclusion, but the final act is striking and harrowing, ending with a point well made.



CAST: Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billie Gadsdon

DIRECTOR: Lorcan Finnegan

WRITER: Garret Shanley

SYNOPSIS: A fashion designer hires a nanny from the Philippines to assist her in caring for her family while she is suffering from what she believes is a tick-related illness.