Faye (Sarah Zanotti) is a self-help author who could do with a little self-help herself. She lost her husband recently and has been attending therapy sessions to help with that, but her therapist has told her to stop holding imaginary conversations with her dead spouse, and Faye rankles at that proposal. Besides, she needs to be starting her next book, so has a cabin borrowed from her editor for a week to clear her head and get those thoughts down; the location is perfectly peaceful, there's a porch swing, nobody will interrupt her unless she wants them to, and she looks set for a quiet seven days of study and work. But maybe Faye's personal demons are too much for her to ignore completely...
Yet another "lone woman goes crazy" horror movie inspired by Repulsion, consciously or otherwise, Faye was notable for featuring just one lead actor and more or less nobody else aside from occasional folks heard over the phone. Which meant some chutzpah on the part of Zanotti if she felt she was compelling enough to be watchable for the whole eighty minutes this took to unfold, which unfortunately she was not. Instead, she came across as terribly smug and self-indulgent, and that could sum up the impression of the film as a whole, it certainly did not succeed as a horror flick, some zombie makeup aside, and as a character study it was, yet again, a chiller taking potshots at the whole online influencer culture.
Indeed, we were never very sure if we were supposed to find Faye very sympathetic or otherwise, but her endless rambling, often to camera, but just as often to imagined ghosts haunting the cabin, was a real ordeal to sit through. The film just did not justify spending all this time with the protagonist, and conceits like having Faye deliver a monologue in parts before a red velvet curtain while sitting on a high stool and on a stage in front of a presumed audience came across as irksomely precious. Especially when you heard what she was saying: slagging off classic movies that were a far preferable watch to this one, reading out her good reviews for her book, and generally being unbelievably self-centred. Now, when you are grieving of course you will be self-centred, but Faye was abusing the privilege.
Yes, it was also yet another twenty-twenties movie about grief, and another horror on that subject (blame the pandemic), but there were no insights here and assuredly nothing to indicate why Faye would be so good at writing self-improvement guides. We see her on social media broadcasting to an army of hero-worshipping cheerleaders, with a troll every so often to remind us the real world wasn't all nice, but when she's truly alone Faye decides to get drunk and go on long, screaming trips where she imagines she is being victimised by evil spirits which she partly encourages. She also has sex with herself, and we get to see her in the bath (discreetly) as the story draws perilously close to glamorising suicide before pulling back in the latter stages. Really, this appeared to have been written by the Faye character herself while on a drunken bender and somehow had managed to persuade her best pals to film it for her. It's no mean feat getting a project completed and released, but this was a case of an amateur movie that somehow got more attention than it could bear, or would have done had the same year's The Eyes of Tammy Faye not spoiled its web search results.
[Faye is on UK digital from 9 May 2022.]