Plot: Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) had a fight with her mother, so she had to sneak out to make her way to a party. Before she could reach a taxi, she was approached by a woman named Evelyn (Emma Booth), who offered her some weed, as well as a ride to a phone so she could call a taxi. She is hesitant to accept, but the road is dark and she feels a little uneasy, so she takes the ride. Once at the home of Evelyn and her husband John (Stephen Curry), Vicki has a quick drink and plans to be on her way, but thanks to a special dose in her drink, instead she blacks out. When she wakes up, she is chained to a bed and learns she has been taken prisoner by the couple. This seems to be a ransom situation, but when she is forced to write a letter home advising that she is fine, Vicki starts to fear the worst. She watches her captors and while they have a strong, twisted bond, there is also great tension. If she is going to survive and have a chance to escape, she needs to figure out how to turn them against each other. But can she outsmart these veteran criminals, or will she be the next victim buried in the woods?
Entertainment Value: This is a dark thriller, with a young woman trapped in a hellish prison with two unstable criminals. This narrative hits close to real life often, as this kind of abduction and torture of women by sadistic couples is well documented and is no means uncommon. That adds an extra level of dread to the entire movie, knowing that countless women have endured this kind of experience. Hounds of Love pushes the envelope a little, but given the subject matter involved, tends to be a little tamer than you might think. But that’s not a criticism, as this doesn’t seem to aim for shock, instead to tell a character driven story that happens to involve this horrific behavior. The movie doesn’t burn much time on exposition, but we can pick up a lot through the arguments between the couple. These fights, coupled with Evelyn’s conversations with Vicki, take us inside the relationship. The cast is excellent, with Emma Booth as the standout and she really conveys this inner sickness, tormented by what her life has become, but unable to extricate herself from it. She is unstable, but doesn’t have the kind of pure evil that her husband does. Stephen Curry and Ashleigh Cummings are quite good as well, but Booth is just on another level here. This is a dark movie, but it keeps the really sick stuff reeled in, allowing a bigger audience to partake. So if you like dark, character driven thrillers, Hounds of Love is well recommended.
Booth has a few nude scenes, including full frontal, while Curry showcases his bare ass on occasion. The sex is almost always off screen, with no rape shown, just some creepy passionate displays from the twisted couple. A little blood, with a lot of off screen violence and mayhem. The abuse of Vicki happens off camera, but we see her battered and beaten, while John abuses an animal, also not shown. Some violence is depicted on camera, but it isn’t graphic or overly vivid. In this case, what isn’t shown is certainly more horrific than any kind of special effects could convey. The dialogue is filled with creepy moments, as John is an epic level creep and Evelyn’s unstable psyche is always on the brink. There is ripe dysfunction in both of these characters, but together, it is just a bomb waiting to explode. All of the writing is serious in tone, which makes the mental illness all the more disturbing. Not much as far as wild, campy lines, but some eerie portrayals of sick, imbalanced people. In terms of craziness, Evelyn and John are quite fucked up, so their antics provide frequent insane bursts. With these two characters in the middle of basically the entire movie, that means a lot of crazy and it is quite a wild ride.
Overall Insanity: 6/10