Queen of Earth
Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston star in Alex Ross Perry’s stylish psychological horror Queen of Earth
Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston deliver terrific performances in Alex Ross Perry’s caustic psychological horror. Moss plays Catherine, who's retreating to her friend Virginia (Waterston)'s lake house for a summer of recuperation after a break-up. The film opens with a tight, uncomfortable and lengthy close-up of Catherine’s despair-ravaged face immediately after discovering her partner is leaving her and this sets the tone for what follows: a tight, uncomfortable 90 minutes as Catherine unravels, and her already fractious relationship with Virginia becomes toxic.
Queen of Earth is ostensibly a measured study of depression and anxiety, where, despite the leads’ spooky work, what’s most unsettling is actually what doesn’t happen, Perry making shocking allusions to the extent of Catherine’s mental health that hang unresolved. If this sounds a bit much, well, it kind of is, but the writer-director's bone-dry wit is pervasive and there are innumerable aesthetic and thematic nods to Bergman, Polanski and Fassbinder that denote his being playful. That said, Perry being playful is still more unnervingly aggressive than most filmmakers going at you full-throttle.
Queen of Earth is released 1 Jul by Eureka Entertainment and released as part of the Masters of Cinema Series in a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition on 11 Jul