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TIFF Review: Greta

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If you’re ever nostalgic for those fun, jumpy thrillers of the early 90’s (Single White Female, I’m looking at you!), then Greta will appeal to you.  It has a lot of horror cliches (don’t go in the basement!), a lot of tense moments, and a lot of humour.  And if you see it with an audience that is game for the ride you’ll have a great time.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays Frances, a young woman trying to make her way in New York City.  Living with her roommate Erica (Maika Monroe), she works as a waitress to help make ends meet.  One night on her way home from her waitressing shift, she finds a handbag left behind on the subway.  Since the lost and found department is already closed for the night she decides to return it to the owner in the morning.  When she arrives at the owner’s home, she meets Greta (Isabelle Huppert).  Filling the void that her recently deceased mother left behind, Frances forms a friendship with Greta until she makes a discovery that turns their relationship into one of stalker and prey.

Greta premiered at the Ryerson theatre in Toronto as part of the Special Presentations programme, but easily belonged amongst the Midnight Madness fare that usually shows films from the thriller/horror/B-movie genre.  It has elements of all of these films to draw from.  And while Moretz easily holds her own against the incomparable Huppert, it is the French actress that truly makes the film.  You can just tell Huppert had so much fun bringing the monstrous Greta to life and watching her is incredibly entertaining.

Greta is directed by Neil Jordan, and while it may not be his best film, it may be his most fun to watch.  No stranger to the thriller/horror genre (having previously directed Byzantium, Interview with the Vampire), he seemed to bring just the right balance of twists, turns, humour and jump scares to keep this film on point.  It never takes itself too seriously, and neither does Huppert.  Follow suit, and enjoy.

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