Inexplicably rated 15 by the BBFC, this mild but involving supernatural thriller from British director Asif Kapadia (‘The Warrior’) majors in creeping unease and occasional shocks rather than violent horror. ‘Buffy’ star Sarah Michelle Gellar is typically anodyne as Joanna Mills, a successful trucking company sales rep who lives out of hotel rooms, operates on emotional autopilot and is estranged from her ageing father (Sam Shepard). Joanna’s mental instability and self-harming tendencies are exacerbated by disturbing memory flashes of buildings, bars and rooms in places to which she has never been. On a business trip to Texas, she is drawn to the town of La Salle, where familiar images, weird vibes and vivid visions hint at a past connection with brooding, widowed cowpoke Terry (Peter O’Brien). Or perhaps an adolescent sexual trauma involving sleazy, lurking redneck Griff (JC MacKenzie).
Kapadia’s fluid storytelling and Roman Osin’s ravishing cinematography create subtle, unnerving menace out of flat vistas, decaying industrial architecture, claustrophobic interiors and old-fashioned in-camera effects. Sadly, Adam Sussman’s script is so thin you can see right through it.