"I found this film ultimately disappointing; perhaps because it promises so much in the first forty minutes and has some great elements. It's atmospheric and the acting is terrific. And yes, early on there are lots of interesting questions raised about what is 'normal' and how we are conditioned by society. Martha's wide-eyed questions expose the underbelly of ordinary life, suggesting that the 'love' that she receives from her bourgeois sister has its own drawbacks and costs. The control that her biological family exerts over her is different in kind from that of the cult, but it is no less real.
Yet all this interesting sociological speculation is halted. The film plateaus psychologically and the characters continue to play out the same conflicts. What does happen is a rising note of gothic darkness which raises the tension but tells us nothing new. And once this has been ratcheted up the film ends, all too abruptly, having added nothing to the interesting observations of the first half. An interesting piece but in the end, a great sense of wasted potential."