John Jarratt and Kaarin Fairfax share top billing and directing credits on this twisted tale of obsession.
Jarratt plays Jack, who has been keeping an eye on Emily (Fairfax) for some time. He is a stalker pushed to the brink when he finally decides to break into Emily’s home to take what he wants by force. However his plans for her pain and his pleasure come unhinged when he wakes up to find himself bleeding and bound to a chair in her kitchen. In fact, he spends the lion’s share of the film tied up in the room where what passes for action takes place. It doesn’t take long for Jack to realise that Emily is not the woman he thought she was – a slut and a tease. For one night Jack and Emily engage in a perverse courtship that leads you to wonder which one of them will survive.
I am shocked and appalled at how bad a movie StalkHer is. Its only redeeming feature is the soundtrack, certainly not the script nor the acting. There’s music from Human Nature, Nick Cave, Skyhooks, The Go-Betweens, The Angels and Split Enz, among others.How anyone could think this is even vaguely funny is beyond me and yet it is billed as a comedic romantic thriller?
John Jarratt’s time to shine was Wolf Creek, but that was a decade ago and this choice was simply a mistake, pure and simple. And yet first time director Jarratt says that as soon as StalkHer was pitched to him, he fell in love with the idea. After he read the first draft, it made him instantly think “this is Misery meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.
I, on the other hand, could only think misery, but in my case I wasn’t considering the movie title. Yes, there are twists and turns and plenty of fantasy sequences, but I didn’t find any compelling or engaging. In fact, quite the opposite. Jarratt says he and Fairfax are great friends who have known each other since they worked together on The Last Outlaw, when she was just 21.
That was 35 years ago. He says they have developed a great working relationship over the years and were both excited by the prospect of bringing this battle of the minds to life on the screen. My response is they should have chosen a far better vehicle to turn into a motion picture because first time writer Kristijana Maric has produced a deeply flawed script that I found totally vacuous and devoid of interest.
I was desperate to leave after five minutes – I kid you not. Others around me did through various stages of the film. Rated MA, StalkHer scores a 1 out of 10. It really is a stinker of the highest order.
Director: John Jarratt & Kaarin Fairfax
Cast: John Jarratt, Kaarin Fairfax, Alan Finney
Release Date: 27 August 2015
Rating: MA 15+
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television