Although I had already watched Greta (Isabelle Huppert) and Frances (Chloe Grace-Moretz) meet, develop a friendship and then dissolve said friendship, a look at my watch told me I was only 20 minutes into the 98-minute movie. It would be nearly another hour before anything else consequential or at all eventful happened.
The aforementioned award-winning actresses are united when Frances retrieves and returns Greta’s handbag, which Greta accidentally left on the subway. Only later does Frances discover the handbag abandonment was no accident, but rather part of a whole psychotic plan to lure Frances into Greta’s life.
The quality of the film is debatable from the start. The director’s sound mixing is baffling, with its blend of muffled and coherent dialogue that doesn’t communicate anything other than, “There might be something wrong with the theater’s speaker system.”
One of the film’s biggest issues, however, is simply this: The characters are dull. It isn’t until the conclusion that the main cast is able to extricate itself from archetypes such as “victim,” “villain” and “best friend” — a shame given the talent at Jordan’s disposal.
Greta’s stalker tendencies, like when she stands outside of Frances’s place of employment or just straight-up follows Frances’s roommate Erica, don’t give the impression that she poses any immediate threat. Law enforcement doesn’t even take Greta seriously. Given all that has (or more accurately, hasn’t) happened in the film, this fact doesn’t do the plot any favors.
Any tension that does exist in the film feels manufactured. Viewers are made to depend on audible cuing before anything bad happens. The theater might as well have had a light-up sign telling them when to GASP.
Greta attempts a comeback during the last act by more or less copying Rob Reiner's adaptation of Stephen King’s remarkable aforementioned novel, but even then, it’s too brief to have any lasting impact. By the time viewers get to this point, they already know what’s going to happen and are just waiting for the credits to roll.