There was a time when moving to London seemed quite attractive. Granted, it has always been ridiculously expensive and the thought of that commute doesn’t inspire anyone, but it’s one of the most exciting and vibrant capital cities in the world. However, over the last few years the balance has tipped. Affordable housing is all but extinct, rent has spiralled out of control, unscrupulous landlords operate unchecked, and don’t even think about buying unless you’re working in The City. Evictions, repossessions and homelessness are becoming increasingly common. Desperate times call for desperate measure. In Dominic Bridges feature debut Freehold he channels these social issues and anxieties, with grim consequences.
Hussein (Mim Shaikh) is a slimy ‘wide-boy’ estate agent who likes the sound of his own voice a bit too much. Whilst his girlfriend Mel (Mandeep Dhillon) is away, he divides his time between work and slobbing out at home. Unbeknownst to him, a strange man (Javier Botet) moves in to his apartment and takes up residence in the crawl space behind his wardrobe. Whilst Hussein is asleep or at work, he begins a campaign of petty torment against him. Starting out with small things but quickly becoming increasingly malicious.
Freehold is a very strange and twisted tale of real estate revenge. Bridges, who comes from a background in commercials, plays up on the darkly comic and demonstrates that we’re happy to tolerate just about any conceivable horror as long as the victim is odious. At times it’s almost hallucinatory and experimental in tone, which is bolstered by the casting of Botet. The Spanish actor is a rather singular unwieldly and other-worldly presence; spindly like a spider waiting to pounce. Freehold is a mix of household horror and social commentary, which appals and amuses in equal measure.
Freehold is released on DVD and Digital by Precision Pictures on 9 October.