Review: Attachment

Written and directed by Gabriel Bier Gislason, Maja, a Danish has-been actress, falls in love with Leah, a Jewish academic from London. Leah suffers a mysterious seizure, and Maja returns with her to London. There, she meets Leah’s mother, Chana, a woman who could hold dark secrets. Starring: Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik, Lado Hadzic and Katrine Jensenius.

One of the greatest things that a horror film can achieve is spending a good chunk of its time in another genre or tone but still get right under your skin when it wants to, that’s exactly what Attachment does. At first, it’s an adorable lesbian romcom, starting with a meet-cute and a classically rushed relationship, skipping past so many steps right to living together. It’s sweet and fun, the characters are well put together and easily feel rounded, which is so perfectly disarming for the darker notes that slowly come through. Building that basis of hope and romance means that when things start to slightly go off track, the tension and risk hit even harder because you’re rooting for these characters to stay together when a new relationship can be so fragile, let alone with a supernatural element. It uses the tension extremely well, the way that it’s paced makes for a gripping viewing experience.

Another element which helps to create that balance of romance versus horror is the cinematography, the palette and the atmosphere. While it starts out more light in that hopeful arena, it slowly takes on a richness of dark, plush colours. It begins to close in upon itself to raise the suspicion, nudging things to exactly where they need to be before bringing out the big guns. It even does so well at how it brings through the horror, it becomes a touch disturbing. It follows the key format of horror which is making it about what could happen and not necessarily what is happening. Giving you creepy, strange moments that set your imagination ablaze with where it could potentially be going. Ironically, the only weakness to the story is when it finally does hand us the crux of the plot in its ending and things don’t move as smoothly. The meaning behind it works but the execution doesn’t have the confidence and suave nature of the rest of the film.

Of course another huge part of why the mix of romance and horror works so well is the film’s leading ladies, not only its newly blossomed couple played by Josephine Park and Ellie Kendrick but also of Leah’s (Kendrick) Mother Chana played by Sofie Gråbøl. Each of them bring us strong, intelligent and wily women who are hugely enjoyable to watch. Park’s Maja is both confident and insecure, her waning career has left her on wobbly ground and the boost that Leah gives her, is portrayed with such loving compassion by Park. Kendrick gives a more naïve, bubbly and youthful air with Leah, she’s extremely capable and resilient but also easily influenced. Together the two of them have an instant connection, their chemistry is infectious and their romance quickly tugs at the old heartstrings. It’s also just refreshing to see such a natural gay relationship taking the forefront of a genre film. Adding in the wonderful Sofie Gråbøl gives her the chance to give us some intrigue and an unknown element, her instant stern, forthright persona adds another satisfying layer of darkness. David Dencik then adds a charm to the mix, so quickly generous that he leaves a mystery of whether or not you should trust him, which is entertaining to figure out.

Attachment is a stellar mix of horror and romcom, centring a mysterious, dark story around an adorable lesbian couple. It’s simultaneously gripping, thrilling, disturbing, sweet and funny. Gabriel Bier Gislason’s writing and direction creates the perfect blend of genres, building such wonderful characters which are portrayed excellently by Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl and David Dencik. The story doesn’t give too much away, letting your imagination do the work so it can effortlessly dig under your skin, it only becomes weaker when things veer into overt territory in its ending. Regardless, it’s a superb horror comedy that has pretty much everything you could want and will only leave you wishing you could keep following Maja and Leah onto their next adventure.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯½ | 9/10

Streaming exclusively on Shudder from 9 February

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s