A hair stylist goes to extremes to keep her sanity intact in this thrilling horror film from director Jill Gevargizian.
Claire is a hairstylist by day whose customers get her fixated. Claire longs to be someone else than just the stylist. As a result, she takes her long-gestating frustrations out on her clients at night when she not only kills them, she takes their scalps. However, when she runs into an old customer, Olivia, who is getting married, Claire sees this as the opportunity she has long hoped for. She doesn’t want to be Olivia, but rather be Olivia’s friend.
Olivia, who is excited that Claire is willing to do her hair, brings Claire in her inner circle. However, as the wedding date nears, strange things begin to happen. From Claire’s fiancée Charlie to some of her friends, they see Claire as just the “stylist” and nothing more. As Claire tries to understand Olivia, she becomes fixated on the bride’s life. However, her sanity is slowly breaking once again as she fears she will lose her new friend and as a result, finds herself going into desperate and extreme measures. Can Claire finally snap out of it, or will it be too late?
A feature film remake of a 2016 short film from director Jill Gevargizian and star Najarra Townsend, it is great to see this film, which looks to be inspired from the classic 1982 film Maniac. It serves as a psychological horror film with shades of Italian giallo mixed in when the script calls for it. But the idea of a hair stylist’s obsession with her clients really holds out quite well as we have seen and experienced at one point or another going to a hair salon or barbershop and immerse ourselves with the stylists.
Reprising her role from the short film, Najarra Townsend delivers a brilliant performance as the titular stylist Claire. She seems to be nice and sweet, but as the opening credits roll, the truth comes out about the character as we see her not only kill her first client but pulls the Maniac route and scalps her victim. Each scalp represents not just her victims but also as a sick and twisted fantasy where Claire consumes the life of her victim, even if its temporary. Even the director herself cameos as a potential victim of the stylist.
Brea Grant becomes perhaps the pivotal character who can save Claire from her sick fantasy world in the form of soon-to-be married Olivia. As someone who has seen Claire before, she is more than excited to have her as her hair stylist. It soon develops into a friendship where Claire can finally break away from her double life. That is, until she finds herself the object of ridicule from the likes of people within Olivia’s inner circle. This sets Claire back to regression and thus begins another paranoid moment and thus, another victim is set to fall under her. As if that’s not crazy enough, the final moments are quite shocking and jaw-dropping.
The Stylist is a really well-made meshing of psychological thriller with hints of the Italian giallo film with Najarra Townsend and Brea Grant in excellent performances as the titular lunatic and the possible saving grace. Great moments and a shocking finale overall.
WFG RATING: A
Arrow Films presents a Sixx Film/Claw Productions/Line Film Company production. Director: Jill Gevargizian. Producers: Jill Gevargizian, Robert Patrick Stern, Sarah Sharp, Chris Knitter, Jordan Rioux, Najarra Townsend, and John Pata. Writers: Jill Gevargizian, Eric Havens, and Eric Stolze. Cinematography: Robert Patrick Stern. Editing: John Pata.
Cast: Najarra Townsend, Brea Grant, Davis Derock, Sarah McGuire, Jennifer Seward, Millie Milan, Kimberly Igla, Laura Kirk, Chelsea Brown, Bety Le Shackleford, Kelsey Nicholes.