Shoot the Pianistby Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Only Isabelle Huppert could have got away with it. Playing the eponymous Greta, she goes over the theatrical top in a horror/thriller that’s compellingly bonkers.
Chloê Grace Moretz is Huppert’s antithesis and maybe nemesis. As Frances, she’s a kind, naive young woman, sharing a New York loft with her wealthy, worldly friend Erica (Maika Monroe). When she finds a lost handbag on the subway, she goes out of her way to return to its owner, tracing it back to Greta from the clues left inside.
At first a mutually supportive friendship blossoms between the two. Greta is a charming, lonely piano teacher (again) who misses her absent daughter: Frances is missing her mother who died a year ago. It could have been a meeting made in heaven. But when Frances finds something that makes her realise that all is not as it seems and she tries to end their budding relationship, Greta refuses to let go and becomes her stalker, infiltrating her life in a way that goes increasingly out of rational control.
Maika Monroe’s character as Frances’s friend develops in a satisfyingly unexpected way. In brief appearances, Stephen Rea as a detective and Zawe Ashton as a counsellor are underused.
There are some genuinely scary moments, escalated by the pointed musical score. And underlying it all is exploitation of the basic big-city fear that strangers may not be the people they appear to be. But there are also moments ludicrous enough to make you giggle. It’s a compellingly roller-coaster experience.
Greta is released on 19 April 2019 in the UK.