In what feels like a bit of a loop, director Olivier Assayas once again directs Kristen Stewart in the role of gofer to a demanding older woman, as in their previous, The Clouds of Sils Maria. Continuing this fruitful partnership, here Maureen (Stewart) is stylist for a celebrity and spends her days haunting Parisian fashion houses while she spends her nights haunting the house in which her twin brother recently died. The siblings shared a belief in the occult and vowed that the first to die would communicate to the other from Beyond. Craving this contact, when Maureen receives messages (via her phone, this being the 21st century) she cooperates with the increasingly sinistre instructions.
This film has divided critics. It would be wrong, though, to take it at face value as merely a shiny-surfaced ghost story. Stewart is a terrific actress, her brittle exterior hinting at a maelstrom of emotions beneath. And Assayas is a very savvy critic-turned-director who shuns easily identifiable generic movies, and there are a number of intriguing, weighty themes here. We suggest we leave Twilight and fashion for the younger audience; discerning viewers will find the rich psychological subtext as perturbing as any CGI'd spirit!