HOLLYWOOD—The teaser to the movie “Greta” gives the audience vibes of an intense psychological thriller. However, the movie was quite reminiscent in my opinion of a 90s classic known as “Misery.” That flick starred Oscar-winner Kathy Bates as an obsessed fan, who kidnapped her favorite author portrayed by James Caan. Bates’ character was unhinged and went to extreme lengths to ensure her prisoner never escaped; subtle, yet disturbed.
With “Greta” the audience is treated to a devilish performance by Oscar-nominee Isabelle Huppert as Greta Hideg. At first, Greta seems like an old lonely woman, but there is far more than meets the eyes. It is Greta’s encounter with Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) that propels the narrative into full-drive. Moretz brings a naivety to a woman who doesn’t quite realize a dangerous situation until it’s too late. Frances is mourning the recent passing of her mother who died from cancer.
This is a woman crying out for a shoulder to lean on and when she doesn’t get that from her overworked father Chris (Colm Feore) and her roommate, Erica (Maika Monroe), she falls into the clutches of Greta. What the movie does well thanks to director Neil Jordan is slowly building the suspense. There are layers to the mayhem, which at first appear innocent, then creepy, then outlandish, before turning into full-blown psychopath. Greta’s antics escalate, and that escalation leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat. You may have a sense of how the film may unfold based on teasers, but that is nowhere close to the entire story; if anything its slightly misleading.
Kudos have to be delivered to Huppert because she really immerses herself into this role; it’s nuanced, its eerie, its wild and its twisted. This woman can change on a dime and that is what makes the character such a treat. Moretz is perfection as our heroine who finds herself in a situation where she is uncertain what move to make next to stay one step ahead of a threat that she does not fully understand.
When “Greta” finally reaches its climax, the movie ramps up its narrative to a frenetic pace that leaves the audience on the edge, guessing and wondering what will unfold next. It’s “Misery,” but on a tamer scale. There is violence, but compared to Kathy Bates’ character, it’s not a complete disconnect from reality. Greta is grieving and she doesn’t fully understand or know how to deal with those emotions. If you’re looking for a movie that will provide chills and fun, exciting ride, “Greta” is your perfect cup of tea.