I stumbled onto “The Stylist” after reading about it on Pajiba, and it’s definitely one of those movies that you’ll know whether or not you’ll like it just by watching the trailer. The trailer manages to summarize the movie really well actually, not to mention telegraph some of its twists and reveals, but for me it didn’t ruin the experience. If anything it improved it, because it forced to watch how the movie is constructed instead of focusing on its narrative, which can be satisfying in of itself. Director Jill Gevargizian has a nice touch with filters and color schemes, which you can clearly see from the trailer: The entire movie is absolutely gorgeous to look at, with terrific use of lighting, style and costuming that give the project a fairy-tale hue that’s as visually striking as it is narratively appropriate. By that, I mean that there’s a bit of surreal edge to the proceedings, largely because it feels like law enforcement or crime watches just don’t exist, really – sure, some of the women targeted by the titular character are reported missing but there’s a disconnect from reality. Maybe that’s even better for its cinematic purposes, really, because it puts the narrative focus right on the characters and their circumstances, which are compelling and well-established. Najarra Townsend is extraordinarily well-cast as stylist Claire, who simply radiates social anxiety that’s been capped for too long, while co-star Brea Grant is totally believable as her casually narcissistic client who spends too much time navel gazing to recognize the growing threat in her life. Fans of horror entries like “May” and “American Mary” will find plenty to appreciate here, so there’s definitely a cult audience waiting in the wings for this one.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)