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Hon Ping Tang,
Matt Rutledge is on business in the Louisiana country. He decides to stay at an old house which is a bed-and-breakfast type of place owned by two sisters, Charlotte and younger Lucy. Charlotte is in and out of love with town sheriff Cleve Doucet while seductive Lucy is attracted to Matt. Written by
Two repressed sisters run a bed and breakfast in old mansion-like motel in the Louisiana swamps for passer-byes. A young man, Matt Rutledge comes to stay, for a break from the fast city-life and at first glance catches the eye of the younger sister, Lucy. Though soon, Matt realises that Lucy and her older sister, Charlotte are hiding some sort of secret from their past and this is the reason for Charlotte being so overprotective towards Lucy.
Oh, my beloved sister what have you done? Now why has this film gone by terribly unnoticed? Hmm, it's hard actually to pinpoint. There's just something highly enticing about this effectively minor southern Gothic shocker. Shocker, might be too strong of a word, but chiller fits snugly I guess. Honestly, I wasn't expecting anything of quality or uniqueness. But it delivered. No doubts that the film's premise, developments and actual surprises aren't anything we haven't seen before, but because it's very well crafted by director Bill Condon. He professionally constructs an unsettling air from the beautifully damp backdrop and cooks up some stunning imagery.
You can't help but be drawn into this well-devised (if slow-grinding) mystery that leads you along with its stylishly taut direction and steamily uneasy scenery. I found it to get more and more involving upon every occurrence that resulted in this psychological drama-packed tale. Streaming through it is an erotic tone with tension boiling underneath the lavish-looking surface, as people play each other off in a complicated web of deceit and jealousy. Even a sprinkle of the hazy supernatural makes its way in, but honestly the surprise twist to close up shop puts a real spanner into the mix. It doesn't sit that well with what has gone before it and actually dumb-down the whole build up. Shaping up the classiness of the production is a bell-ringer of a melancholy score by Richard Einhorn that was intoxicatedly lyrical in its cues and Stephen M. Katz's wonderfully poignant camera-work gave it a delicate touch. The cast were exceptional in their parts and had a huge impact on the success. Eric Stoltz, Judy Ivey, Denis Lipscomb and the breathtakingly ravishing Jennifer Jason Leigh definitely lead the way with blindingly precise performances.
A fascinating, haunting little thriller that from the outset will just eat you up.
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