A woman finds herself in a world like no other in this haunting thriller from the director of Vivarium.
Christine was at the height of her career as a top fashion designer. That is until one fateful night, a dog comes out of nowhere in her studio and she ends up bitten by a tick. Months has passed and Christine is feeling the effects of possibly Lyme Disease. She begins to get haunting visions and has constant nightmares, which in turns begins to slowly affect her relationship with her family. However, all of that is about to change with the arrival of a new housekeeper, Diana.
Upon her arrival to the home, Diana, who comes from the Philippines, is immediately taken in by Christine. Christine’s husband Felix is not too sure what to think of the new person in the home. When Christine tells Diana of her dilemma, Diana tells Christine that she has the power to heal. Using methods from her homeland to ward off the bad spirits, eventually Christine seems to be cured of her ailments. However, in a turn of events, things slowly become to get worse when the ailment not only comes back, but stronger than before. Will Christine be able to be cured once again? And what of Diana? Will she be able to help Christine, or will it be too late?
In 2019, the duo of writer Garret Shanley and director Lorcan Finnegan unleashed the very weird and disturbing Vivarium, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots as a couple who buy a new house in a community where all the houses look the same and end up taking some strange twists. This time around, the duo unleashes this interesting look at the effects of Lyme Disease as well as meshing traditional and mythical shaman-like methods to ward off spirits from Southeast Asia. It is safe to say that with some very shocking twists that this is a step up from their previous collaboration.
Eva Green is excellent as Christine, our stricken protagonist who at the height of her career finds it dwindling due to the unexpected ailment she soon receives. When we first see her, she is happy and ecstatic, and career driven. However, once the title card appears and it’s revealed to be eight months since the incident, she seems more in a sullen mood. Plagued by nightmares and sinking into depression, she finds herself distant from husband Felix, played by the always good Mark Strong; and daughter Roberta, aka Bobs, played by Billie Gadsdon.
The standout of the film is Filipina actress and singer Chai Fonacier as Diana, the mysterious housekeeper who enters Christine’s family’s life. From her arrival, she comes off as sweet and good natured. She even is a listener and bonds well with Bobs while offering to help Christine with her ailment. The methods she uses to help Christine are quite interesting with her using a jar and blowing bubbles to show the bad spirits through dirty water. The shocking twists come in the third act, when things not only amp up the sinister level, but leads to an insanely jaw-dropping revelation.
Nocebo is a step up from Vivarium thanks to a breakout performance from Chai Fonacier. Eva Green once again shows why she is a top performer with her role.
WFG RATING: A-
RLJE Films and Shudder presents an Epicmedia Productions/Fie Eireann-Screen Ireland/Lovely Productions/Wild Swim Films/XYZ Films production. Director: Lorcan Finnegan. Producers: Brunella Cocchiglia and Emily Leo. Writer: Garret Shanley. Cinematography: Radek Ladczuk. Editing: Tony Cranstoun.
Cast: Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billie Gadsdon, Cathy Belton.