Hounds of Love is an Australian horror film that hails from the abduction and torture subgenre. It centers around a serial killer couples (Stephen Curry & Emma Booth) who kidnap, rape, and torture a teenage girl (Ashleigh Cummings). The film was a hit on the festival circuit, earning a lot of rave reviews and ultimately racking up a Best Actress award for Cummings at the Venice Film Festival.
The rave reviews were the primary reason I sought the film out. While I do my best to avoid buying into festival hype, it’s hard not to fall in line from time to time and greatly anticipate highly-lauded releases. Sometimes such films manage to meet or even exceed such expectations, but all too often they come up short. Part of that has to do with unrealistic expectations on the part of impatient film fans, myself included.
Another contributing factor is the festival atmosphere. Simply put, if a film fan is surrounded by film fans in a predominantly positive environment, it becomes easy to get swept up in the good vibes and be far kinder to films than normal. Of course personal taste always comes into play as well.
Hounds of Love didn’t work for me, but I can see why it did for others. It’s beautifully shot, relaying some interesting visuals and a few absolutely gorgeous outdoor shots. The three primary performances are also all good.
That said, I should probably just stop watching abduction and torture films. Unless it is something with a heightened tone like Saw or Hostel, this subgenre really doesn’t do anything for me at all. Not even the performances or the cinematography were enough to outweigh my overall indifference to the subgenre. That’s purely a fault of mine and not the filmmakers, but one I cannot set aside in this instance.
I’ll certainly seek out whatever writer/director Ben Young does in the future. He’s clearly talented and has a good eye, after all. From a selfish standpoint, however, I just hope it’s something outside of this particular subgenre.
Hounds of Love is an original horror film from writer/director Ben Young. It was produced by Melissa Kelly. The film stars Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry, Emma Booth, Susie Porter, Damian De Montemas, Harrison Gilbertson, and Fletcher Humphreys.