There are a vast number of advantages to being rich. You can do your big shop at Waitrose, for instance. Or you can pay an extraordinary amount for tiny portions of posh food. Or drive cars big enough to park in four parking spaces.
The most appealing advantage however, is being able to hire an au pair, paying them an underwhelming wage for the unfortunate privilege of interacting with your offspring, so you don’t have to. And let’s face it, if you had the money, who wouldn’t?
This film puts up a good argument against, but it’s still unlikely to put off anyone with the cash to do it.
Working as a fashion designer is Christine (Eva Green). It’s not exactly designer gear, as it’s aimed at children and sold in chain stores, but it pays the bills.
During a trade show she gets a phone call, then on top of that she appears to be attacked by a swarm of ticks, all of which takes its toll on her health.
Then one day she gets a knock at her door, and standing there a young woman, Diana (Chai Fonancier), claiming that Christine has invited her over from the Philippines to help her run her home. Not only is this news to her husband Felix (Mark Strong) and young daughter Bobs (Billie Gadsdon), but Christine herself, who has no recollection of hiring her. Still, she can certainly do with the help right now, so invites her in.
Diana soon proves herself to be invaluable, improving Christine’s life no end, even on the health front with some homemade potions. But is Diana being as helpful as she’s making out to be?
This is director Lorcan Finnegan’s follow up to his intriguing 2019 film Vivarium. Unfortunately it’s nowhere near as inventive as that, in fact it’s decidedly formulaic in its approach to horror.
If you’re going to do the whole ‘bringing in someone to help around the home’ kinda thing, then you need to bring something fresh. But having a dodgy home help isn’t it. To be fair, he does try to add something else to the mix, but sadly that doesn’t work too well either.
At times the film has an identity crisis, struggling to decide whether it is indeed a thriller with horror undertones, or a film making a stand on the exploitation of low paid workers. Ken Loach might be able to get away with that kind of social commentary but sadly, Finnegan’s not quite in the same league.
Green does well with the material at her disposal, but Strong really is too good an actor to play second fiddle in what is an unsatisfying effort; perhaps he’s doing someone a favour, or just needs work done on his extensions, but really, he’s better than this. And his interaction with a family pet is just downright embarrassing.
Faring better is Fonancier who does well with the balancing of act of being the truly helpful home help with a hidden agenda.
Certainly the titles, as well as the film as a whole, feeling like a throwback to classic titles of a hammering house theme is a pleasing, but the retro vibe isn’t enough to sustain interest.
If you’re in the market for some devious home help, there are better examples out there.