PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

Review: The Adored / Cert: 15 / Director: Carl Medland, Amarjeet Singh / Screenplay: Jody Medland / Starring: Laura Martin-Simpson, Ione Butler, Jake Maskall, Caroline Burns Cooke / Release Date: Out Now

This low-budget psychological thriller, shot in North Wales, may be a little leaden for some viewers but rewards perseverance.

Recovering from personal problems, not least with her marriage, model Mia (Butler) spends some time away with successful photographer Francesca (Martin-Simpson) in the hope of kick-starting her career. The shoots go well, and as the pair start to bond, passions and insecurities come to the fore; their respective weaknesses and obsessions threaten to cause problems, not least when Francesca seduces Mia, who is prone to sleepwalking. Elsewhere, in a psychiatrist’s chair, Adrian (Maskall) is attempting to come to terms with both his anger issues, and his own obsession that his wife is having an affair.

For what, on paper, looks like a routine Sapphic thriller, The Adored manages to pull together enough twists to keep the interest without becoming too clichéd. The female leads are both outstanding, playing believable, if not altogether likeable characters. It’s a powerful story of obsession and possessiveness, which no doubt many can relate to. While it may be troubling, perhaps, that the story somewhat perpetuates the myth of mental illness naturally leading to violence and abuse, paralleled in both narrative threads, the way they tie together is handled brilliantly.

It makes great use of the beautiful remote Welsh locations – even if does erroneously claim that Plas Tan-Yr-Allt, the house at Tremadog where Percy Shelley lived in 1812, was the dwelling in which Frankenstein was conceived. The score is a little intrusive at times; overpowering some scenes, particularly early on.

Nitpicking aside, this is an engaging tale which benefits from going in knowing as little as possible about it. It manages to cunningly shift the focus just when you think you are getting a handle on the situation; waiting all along for the inevitable explosion of passion.

Extras: Trailer / Two music videos from Welsh singer-songwriter, Peach

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