"I realised that the good stories were affecting the organs of my body in various ways, and the really good ones were stimulating more than one organ. An effective story grabs your gut, tightens your throat, makes your heart race and your lungs pump, brings tears to your eyes or an explosion of laughter to your lips."
– Christopher Vogler, The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers, Third Edition.
I've recently started reading Vogler's The Writer's Journey and I couldn't have started it at a better time. While I sat in the cinema, Hounds of Love rolling, I couldn't stop myself from gnawing my fingernails. My breath was uneven and my heart didn't cease from pounding. During the torment, the passage above burst into my head and I finally understood what Vogler was getting at.
Image from The Hollywood Reporter
Hounds of Love is an independent film from Australia's own Ben Young. It tells the story of young Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) who is abducted by Evelyn (Emma Booth) and her partner John (Stephen Curry). With the fight to survive coursing through Vicki's veins, she attempts to escape by getting inside her captor's heads.
Hounds of Love is definitely a horror – the scariest aspect being that Vicki's ordeal could happen to anyone. It was this aspect alone that left my boyfriend shell-shocked, ashamed to be a man, and left him only able to mutter, "What a lovely film…"
However, I lacked this response. I felt drained, of course, but held great respect for Young. Hounds of Love is a chilling tale that expertly shows both sides of the coin: victim and predator. In many ways, Evelyn was just as much of a victim as Vicki. In the news, in the real world, this character would be held as a witch – an evil woman – but Hounds of Love shows how damaged and broken these individuals are. John even showed signs of weakness in his everyday life while being bullied. Of course what these characters do is disgusting, but very rarely are we able to see their side. This is an aspect I truly admire.
Imagine from Variety
Furthermore, the cinematography was simply stunning. The recurring slow motion, panning shots continued to mesmerise me throughout. The eerie effect it created was utterly perfect for the atmosphere the film aimed for.
Plus the acting was simply Oscar worthy.
However, the story didn't unfold the way I expected. From the summary I read on IMDb, I thought there would be more of a focus on Vicki's sly behaviour to successfully "drive a wedge" between her captors. Therefore I thought Vicki would secretly flirt with John, spouting lies in order to win his affection, while also whispering to Evelyn about her failing relationship. Yet, this was not the focus of the tale. Personally, I felt the focus was on women: more specifically motherhood. I admire this road Young took with the script. His portrayal of woman in film was refreshing as so many men struggle to create realistic female characters.
Overall, "enjoy" isn't the word I would use to describe my feelings towards Hounds of Love but I truly admire it. Like I said to my boyfriend as we left cold and shaking from the Glasgow Film Theatre, "I have never wanted anything more than for Vicki to escape that damn house."
Image from HeyUGuys
Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@popcorncrunch) to always keep updated with my reviews! Thanks for reading!