Something of a change of tack - and not an altogether successful one, at that - after Hausner's impressive shorts and first feature (Lovely Rita), this sees her shift from slightly stylised realism to a rather stiff flirtation with genre. A young woman (Weisz) starts work as a receptionist at a quiet luxury hotel deep in the Austrian Alps. When she finds out that her predecessor apparently vanished without explanation, she's not unduly alarmed, but her deteriorating relationship with other members of staff and the gloomy atmosphere of the hotel and the surrounding woods begin to get to her. Less a Shining-style thriller than a cool consideration of the effects of environment on character and action, the film draws a little too explicitly on folk myth and expressionist lighting, even as it eschews melodramatic cliché. The result is an intelligent but strangely unengaging fable about fear and desire, conformity and liberation, a mite too metaphorical for its own good.
Cast and crew