When it comes to crime drama, modern British TV series often offer a no-nonsense approach to investigating murders. In many way, that’s part of their charm. Real people trying to unmask real criminals. Life isn’t always that straightforward, however. Neither is the human brain. It’s liable to play tricks on us. With the right stimulus, our imaginations can run wild. Charismata, the new film from Andy Collier and Toor Mian, is a spiritual sibling to Ben Wheatley’s Kill List and one of the best British horror films of the decade.
Rebecca Faraday (Sarah Beck Mather) is a rookie detective struggling to gain respect in a police department. She’s not helped by the levels of testosterone in the station or her father being the commissioner. Along with a colleague (Andonis Anthony), she investigates a serial killer who is taking body parts from his victims. She’s convinced that a rich real estate developer (Jamie Satterthwaite) is the culprit but can’t prove it. When he takes a personal interest in her, Rebecca struggles to hold on to reality.
Inspired by Roman Polanski’s ‘Apartment trilogy’, particularly Repulsion, Charismata is a nerve-jangling psychological drama which mixes crime with the occult. The acting feels authentic, which works in stark contrast to the beautiful cinematography of Fernando Ruiz. This creates a rather hallucinatory experience, which unbalances and intoxicates in equal measure. Charismata is a trip into the dark side.
Charismata screens at East End Film Festival on 26 April.