THE STYLIST (REVIEW)
Dir. Jill Gevargizian
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
THE STYLIST is everyone's worst nightmare. Taking a concept so simple and making it macabre will make you think twice about walking into the salon on your next appointment.
Claire (Najarra Townsend) works in a salon as a hairdresser taking on new clients to give them a fresh trim however it soon becomes apparent that when her clients ask for a "bit off the top" they get more than they bargained for. Jill Gervargizian takes her short film and adds more drops of blood to Claire's salon floor in a film that expands with more scenes of murder and plot and yet still leaves questions.
Where THE STLYIST succeeds is in it's mystique. The central performance is a blend of Patrick Bateman and Ichi (the Killer) in a psychotic yet controlled journey that eventually reaches its shocking climax. Townsend plays the subtleties really well, on the one had she has the urges to kill and on the other the emotional weight of knowing it's wrong. The film is littered with moments of sheer madness yet on the surface she is simply the girl next door which makes the closing moments ever more chilling.
Accompanied by a great score by Nicholas Elert, the slow synths match the pace of the film perfectly, everything about THE STYLIST is subtle and then jarred with the blood dripping heads of Claire's latest victim.
In some vein, THE STYLIST is a female led MANIAC. It's disturbing, it's shocking and it could be real, all convincingly portrayed by Townsend's demeanour. The killings are, for the most part, senseless and to no real consequence to the killer who has a deeper need to retain the scalp of her victims. Which would work really well but the central character is begging for more depth. The slow pacing and exploration of her life behind the murders seeks more attention and meaning causing the film to feel a little shallow once the credits role. That doesn't take away from its effect and when it gets nasty, it is raw but the moments in-between feel uninvested to the cause and reasoning behind the madness.
After a year of spending plenty of time alone and wanton with the world and other lives, THE STYLIST is more frightening than ever. Despite it's appearance, it's an ugly beast that would fit well on a shelf with the likes of THE DEVIL'S REJECTS and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.