“Greta” is a Hitchcockian style character driven psychological horror/thriller. However, it feels so much more than its inspiration. A film that, like all of Hitchcock’s films, is best experienced with little or no prior knowledge.
Initially the prospect of Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz on screen together had me, to say the least, very excited. Without a doubt two of the best actresses of their generations. Upon discovering “Greta” was a Neil Jordan film it made it one of my most anticipated films of recent years.
I was not to be disappointed at all with this superb Hitchcockian homage.
“Greta” is beautifully directed by Neil Jordan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Ray Wright, making it so much more than just a multiplex friendly mainstream film. Many will know Neil Jordan as the director of the classics “The Company of Wolves“, “Mona Lisa“, “The Crying Game“, and “Interview with a Vampire“. All of his films transcending their genres as “Greta” does.
A low key suspenseful psychological horror film that explores obsession. By virtue of being a Neil Jordan film and a female centric film it surprisingly feels unique. While not the intense dark character study it maybe could have been it is a film that Hitchcock would definitely have approved of.
From the opening scenes “Greta” has a look and feel that is quintessentially a Neil Jordan film. There is clearly a feeling throughout the film that he relished making a Hitchcock inspired film, but in his own unique style. There are numerous subtle references to Hitchcock’s films throughout, and a similar vein of black humour. At times emulating the graphic approach he would take if he were making films nowadays. For the eagle eyed there are subtle homages to “Strangers on a Train“, “Vertigo“, “Psycho” and “Frenzy“, to name but a few.
The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey and the editing by Nick Emerson accentuates the beautiful production design by Anna Rackard, giving the film an almost modern gothic horror feel. Added to this is the pitch perfect original music score by Javier Navarrete.
All the elements of the film make “Greta” a pure Neil Jordan film from beginning to end.
For the most part the film is an almost a two hander. Isabelle Huppert delivering a superlative performance as she always does, with Chloe Grace Moretz showing yet again what a superb actress she is. In the hands of any other film-maker, and without actresses of their calibre, “Greta” would have been a derivative generic mainstream film. However, it actually feels far more fresher, especially with its European aesthetic. In hindsight at times it is maybe a little predictable but the performances of Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Maika Monroe are so engaging that as you are watching it feels unpredictable. They so obviously had great fun with the material, playing off of each other beautifully. All three bringing added depth and nuances to their respective characters. In so doing making the film as a whole extremely engaging.
For those who have never seen an Isabelle Huppert film “Greta” is not a bad place to start, and those wanting to see how good Chloe Grace Moretz can be with a great film-maker, co-stars, and strong material.
“Greta” is a hugely entertaining film, as was obviously the intention. A refreshing alternative to many overblown mainstream psychological thriller/horror films.
I for one would love to see Neil Jordan work with Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz again.