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Louise and Kasper want to become parents but Louise is unable to have children. She seals a pact with her Romanian maid, Elena, to bear Louise's child, but things don't turn out as they planned.
Here is my Fantasia International Film Festival 2016 review of "Shelley." The film tells the story of Elena, a single mother looking for a change and way to make some money so she can get a place to live for her and her child. She takes a job as a live-in maid for a couple who is living in a Villa in the middle of no where. Right off the bat she sees things are a bit different with her new bosses. For starters they do not eat meat which isn't all that strange but they also have no electricity in the home and avoid outside contact as much as possible. After getting to know Louise and Kasper a bit more she begins to feel more comfortable talking around them, one day she mentions that she has a son and is struggling money wise and she mentions that spending three years away from her child will be hard so Louise makes her an offer. Louise cannot have children of her own but had some of her eggs frozen. She offers Elena a nice amount of money if she will carry the couple's child for them. Elena thinks about it for a while but in the end she agrees because it means she can go back home to her own child a lot sooner.
But after becoming pregnant Elena begins to experience a lot of pain and her skin gets all dried out and she even begins having nightmares. A few visits to the doctor shows everything is fine and that she is carrying a girl. But things begin to get worse as Elena's own behavior begins to change and she suspects that the child she is carrying is evil.
You can say that "Shelley" is a lot like "Rosemary's Baby" and you would be right to a certain extent anyway because this film brings a lot of its own ideas to the table as well. The film comes to us from Denmark and it has a number of different languages in the film including, Danish, English and Romanian. The first thing I liked about the film was the look and the setting. The old home next to a lake in the middle of nowhere and the dark and gloomy cinematography really help in creating the right atmosphere for this creepy tale. And that is actually what the film is, creepy. There is really nothing scary about the film but it does get under you skin. The film's score has a lot to do with that as well.
Another thing I really liked about the film was the cast, everyone in the film did a great job but the three main leads really carried the story and all three characters were well developed. Ellen Dorrit Petersen is sensational as Louise as is Peter Christoffersen who plays her husband Kasper. But the real star here is Cosmina Stratan who is amazing as Elena. Her role is much more demanding on an emotional level and she really delivers a powerful performance. This should be the role that launches her into a star.
"Shelley" is not going to be a horror film for everyone because it is slow moving and a lot of fear it creates is inside your head not visually. But for anyone that likes this kind of thought-provoking horror that gets inside your head then this is for you. It will definitely leave you thinking not only during the movie but long after as well. The film will have its Fantasia Premiere on July 22 at 3:00 PM at the SGWU Alumni Auditorium (Hall Theatre) and again on August 2 at 7:30 PM at the J.A. De Seve Theatre.
I really did enjoy this eerie little drama/horror. I also have to give credit to Director, Ali Abbasi who did a great job creating a spooky little horror film with great atmosphere. Ali Abbasi also Co-wrote the film with Maren Louise Kaehne. If this sounds like something you would like then be sure to check it out.
Released by Indie Sales Company
*** 1/2 Out Of *****