Claire is a lonely hairstylist who keeps to herself, she doesn’t have any friends just her pet dog to keep her company. She loses herself in her clients’ lives and one reaches out to her beyond the confines of the salon, she begins to spiral out of control, taking her to even darker places than the secrets she hides in her basement.
With a blend of practical effects, slow pacing, ominous cinematography, The Stylist is like a psychological thriller twisted into elegant slasher horror. Our psychotic killer, Claire begins with a well thought out routine, where she methodically executes her plans, right down to the ritual and revealing her version of escapism. While some killers would go for skin, body parts, tokens, Claire, being a stylist, has an affinity to hair. In her own private world, we get to see Claire genuinely express emotion as if this is the only way she can be free. But her desire for connection and the chance to make a friend stunts her. She makes a mistake and panics then we watch as she descends into chaos as if her killings were the only part of her keeping her balanced. Najarra Townsend plays Claire to a perfect degree, expressing everything she feels through looks and stares as she actually has very little dialogue. It’s a fascinating character and brilliant performance.
The twists and turns the story takes may be expected for some, but being a unique character exploitation there are moments where we hesitate and doubt that the plot will go the way we expect, making Claire’s crimes more exciting to witness. As director Jill Gevargizian’s feature debut, it is a fantastic breakthrough and an excellent addition to the women making horror in film and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. Right now, we can revel in the character piece, the aesthetics and gore that any horror fan with appreciate and enjoy.
Dir: Jill Gevargizian
Prd: Jill Gevargizian, Najarra Townsend, Robert Patrick Stern, Sarah Sharp
Scr: Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens, Eric Stolze
Cast: Najarra Townsend
DoP: Robert Patrick Stern
Music: Nicholas Elert
Running time: 105 minutes
The Stylist will be screened on 4th February at Final Girls Berlin Film Festival and streaming on Arrow player from 1st March