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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Nocebo (2022)

No stranger to the perennially unusual, it should come as no surprise to find Eva Green eventually fronting a Shudder production. It's been awhile since she's dabbled in such an artistic mind-bending mystery, but like an old habit that dies hard, she usually finds her way back to the familiar.

"Sometimes I'm not so sure you want to be tickled anymore."

Director Lorcan Finnegan and Writer Garret Shanley team up for the third time in a row for Nocebo, the curious tale of Christine (Green) and her relationship with an unusual Filipino carer/housekeeper, Diana, played very worryingly by Chai Fonacier. The last time they worked together was for Vivarium and if you've seen that then you know the tone of this already - the uncomfortable deep and heavy undercurrent of the seemingly ordinary.

It is always a good lesson to be wary of those apparent angels bearing gifts for what seems like little or no reward and here Christine finds her quandary. Suffering from an illness neither she, her husband (Mark Strong) or her Doctors understand, the arrival of Diana on her doorstep one day, seemingly out of the blue, seems like kismet, at least to begin with, as she goes about curing her ills.

It's a veritable head-scratcher with a host of messages lurking at its periphery, not least revenge, slave labour and mental illness. It keeps its cards very close to its chest for the majority of the runtime before spilling out everywhere in a third act that is unsettling as it is satisfying.

More accessible than Vivarium, despite it's more familiar premise, all of the apparent randomness shows its true colours by the end and it's cheering to know that there is at least closure, even if it is ultimately unpalatable.


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