Naturally, a fairly broad film category this month has us veering into horror territory. And while it’s true some prestige horror has gotten critical recognition in the past few years, don’t worry: all titles currently featured on the Collab were not and never will be award contenders.
A lonely hairstylist befriends a client who is oblivious to her secret life…murdering people with hair scissors.
Claire is the kind of hairstylist who gets you a glass of wine as she touches up your roots. Clearly I was not been going to the right hairdressers when that was a thing I did. Then again, Claire is the kind of stylist who may or may not scalp you, and I’ve done well from that perspective. I have a 0 tally for number of times scalped by a hairdresser.
As the stylist learns more about her client who travels for work, is having an affair, and seems dissatisfied with her life, Claire’s composure starts to slip. Ultimately, she makes a wig of her client’s hair by legitimately scalping her after she’s passed out from drugged wine. Claire seems eager to try on someone else’s life by wearing the wig yet is disturbed and conflicted about what she’s done. Her creepy basement reveals that Claire has a rather robust collection of scalp wigs.
Though Claire has her regular clients and routine visits to a local coffee shop where the barista knows her by name, it’s apparent quite early that she leads an extremely lonely life with no one really knowing her. Claire seems extremely repressed yet fixated on the marital statuses of those around her. She never does hair for weddings, but ultimately agrees to help Olivia, a regular client in need of a stylist for the big day.
As the wedding day rapidly approaches, Claire becomes closer with Olivia, even considering her a friend. However, as Claire doesn’t seem to know what a healthy friendship entails, she becomes obsessed with Olivia, in almost equal parts falling in love with her client and falling in love with her life.
Though in some ways Claire wants to give up her murderous tendencies, it doesn’t take much to revive her urge to kill. When she hits a rough patch with her new bff, what will Claire do to make sure the wedding is perfect?
3/5 Pink Panther Heads
It seems the question this film asks is whether your social anxiety would ever drive you to kill…and the answer is a resounding yes. The film does a great job in depicting the depths of Claire’s loneliness, though as a result she seems almost more pitiable than terrifying. We don’t know much about her besides how alone she is as a person, and that doesn’t give us enough of a glimpse into her mind to understand her behavior. I appreciate the ways Claire wants to literally try on someone else’s life…but not enough that it makes murder seem like the logical next step.
The film does well in establishing the relationship between Claire and Olivia, leading up to the absolutely excellent final scene. And I’ll give this credit for being visually beautiful–not always what I’d expect from horror. However, the slow burn just becomes slow at times, and it’s not always clear where the film is going. There aren’t quite enough of the blanks filled in to make this as effective a horror as it could be.