Hounds of Love wastes no time letting viewers know the sinister nature of the film. Australia, known for cute koalas and kangaroos, has its dark side as well. Cinema from the region loves to remind us of that. Mad Max and The Road Warrior had their share of unsavory characters. Yet it wasn’t until I saw Wolf Creek that I finally believed the land Down Under actually had truly disturbed individuals. Perhaps Crocodile Dundee and my own experiences meeting so many fun and friendly Aussies distorted my view. Maybe I just wanted to believe in a magical place where everyone was amazing. If I had any inkling of faith that Australia was such a place, Hounds of Love set me straight.
It opens with some effective slow-motion techniques, displaying tracking shots and the objects they capture at different speeds. This visually interesting approach feels somewhat alien, enhancing the sense that something may be off. The audience should quickly grasp the direction in which the film will go.
Writer/Director Ben Young‘s inaugural feature accomplishes so much that I wonder if he sold his soul to someone to make it work so well. Taking place in mid-1980’s Perth, Western Australia, the film follows a couple who have a pretty screwed-up relationship. Part thriller, part psychological exploration, part family drama, Hounds of Love grabs me from the get-go, and holds my interest throughout.
While little brutality actually appears on-screen, the idea of what happens can be just as horrific, or worse even, if you have an active and disturbed imagination. If you lack any kind of imagination, do not worry. The film grants audiences enough glimpses and information to understand the nature of the scenes omitted.
The well-written script, coupled with Dan Luscombe‘s particularly menacing score, generates an appropriate sense of doom and tension. In addition to the great score, other musical choices in the film prove incredibly effective. The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” makes one scene almost unforgettable.
Hounds of Love explores the central relationship dynamic of the true-life couple on which it is loosely based. This provides a fair amount of content on which to chew long after watching the film. This psychological side carries the most wallop, with Emma Booth‘s exceptional performance packing extra power to the punch.
Understand that while you won’t witness much violence, the film may not be easy for some to watch. It covers several darker themes that may prove traumatic for some. If you think you can handle it, the film is currently on VOD. It may be best to watch Hounds of Love in a room full of people…with counselors on hand. To see if it’s playing in a theater near you, check out this link. HoundsOfLoveMovie