After a traumatic assault over a year ago, Greta (Supraneeti Hammacott) has become agoraphobic, unable to leave her apartment. When not dealing with the assorted weirdos that knock on her door throughout the day, Greta trains so as to better protect herself should the day come where she does leave, or needs to confront her attacker (whose identity has remained a mystery). On this day, however, Greta thinks she may have finally figured out who her attacker was, and she fears it is someone far closer to her than she originally imagined.
Erwin Jones’ (the directorial pseudonym for lead actor Supraneeti Hammacott) feature film, Perfect Hunch of an Agoraphobe, works as a drama that takes place predominantly in one room with a very small cast. Sure, there are sequences that break out of the apartment, and a few fantastical indulgences, but for the most part it’s a small drama spurred forward by conversation and performance.
Which both does and doesn’t work. I think the film does a solid job of reeling you in slowly, so you remain engaged for the majority of the film’s running time, but I think that around the time that the film starts to get to its main narrative point, that Greta feels she has determined who her attacker was and is revealing her findings, the film starts to lose the audience for the developments. For some reason, elements just don’t add up at all, and a resolution that the film might have thought it was presenting instead feels false and unsatisfying.
And that may have something to do with the uneven nature of the tone. There are elements that are dramatic and ponderous, but there’s also an undercurrent of humor and a sometimes light-hearted feel, particularly with the use of the fantasy sequences where Greta imagines herself in different ways. Thus, when the film does turn serious in its attempt to solve the assault, and the ramifications of those conclusions, it feels like a new film has suddenly been dropped in, and the wrap up feels that much more disconnected because of it.
All that said, however, the film remains charming. The score can get somewhat oppressive with its over-the-top feel (and maybe that is what underlines the disconnect borne of the uneven tone), but for the most part it’s an interesting vision, and many of the peripheral characters are just strange enough to keep you intrigued. Conversation when Greta’s friend Harvey (Pao-Chang Tsai) drops by tends to wander too much for its eventual true purpose, stretching out the film and spinning the narrative wheels too much, but it doesn’t lend itself to boredom; you just might feel an urge growing to say, “let’s get on with the plot.”
Perfect Hunch of an Agoraphobe isn’t a perfect film by any means. It works stylistically for the most part, and Hammacott delivers a solid performance, but the acting can be dry and stiff otherwise. Still, even though I feel the film goes off the rails by its final act, the journey there was engaging enough to keep me interested until the end. This one might not come together as well as one could hope for, but the filmmaking skills throughout do hint that, given more time and experience, there is quality to come in future projects.
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