Film review: The Little Stranger is absorbing and original

PUBLISHED: 22:46 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 October 2018

Ruth Wilson stars in The Little Stranger Picture: YUI MOK/PA WIRE

Ruth Wilson stars in The Little Stranger Picture: YUI MOK/PA WIRE


From Lenny Abrahamson, director of the Oscar-nominated ‘Room’, comes this haunting period drama staring Domnhall Gleeson and Ruth Wilson.

Gleeson plays Doctor Faraday, a 1940s physician called to attend to a sick maid at Hundreds Hall, a sprawling countryside manor, which he is familiar with from his youth.

However, upon arrival he is drawn into a much deeper mystery surrounding the residents of the vast estate and a potential haunting at the manor itself.

Adapted from the booker prize-listed novel by Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger is not the jump scare horror movie it’s marketing campaign may suggest.

It is, in fact, a much more low-key drama and a thoroughly absorbing one at that.

Gleeson is perfectly cast and utterly believable as the buttoned up and emotionless Faraday. The complete antithesis of his cartoonish portrayal of General Hux in the recent Star Wars films.

Charlotte Rampling and Will Poulter co star as the family matriarch Mrs Ayers and her deeply troubled son Roderick.

But the star of the show is undoubtedly Ruth Wilson. The Kent-born actress is outstanding in the role of Caroline Ayers. Expertly portraying the character as outwardly scatty, but with deep sadness and uncertainty behind her eyes.

The film itself is hard to classify, it does have scary moments and is at times quite disturbing, but this is not your typical ghost story.

Whilst exploring themes of jealousy and inadequacy it has more in common with a psychological drama than outright horror.

The Little Stranger is a slow burn and as a result, may not be to everyone’s taste, but fans of intelligent character pieces will find this a thoroughly rewarding watch.

In delivering another truly original piece of work, Abrahamson has marked himself out as one of the most interesting filmmakers around today.

The Little Stranger is currently showing at the Riverside Theatre in Woodbridge.

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