Hounds of Love is a 2016 Australian psychological horror drama film written and directed by Ben Young. It stars Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings and Stephen Curry.
In suburban late-1980s Perth, people are unaware that women are disappearing at the hands of serial killer couple John and Evelyn White.
After an innocent lapse in judgment, Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted by the disturbed couple. With her murder imminent, Vicki realizes she must find a way to drive a wedge between Evelyn and John if she is to survive…
I am not a parent, but I imagine that Hounds of Love is the epitome of a mother’s worst nightmare (dad’s too!), It’s 1987 in Perth, Australia and your rebellious teen daughter sneaks out of the house one night en route to a party – then vanishes. Panic and helplessness sets in as you discover no clues or leads as to the whereabouts of your child. Where is she?
Hounds of Love drags you into a nightmare where you will feel every agonising inch of pain – both physical and emotional – of being kept captive, sexually abused, tortured, lost and in constant fear. Without resort to graphic violence, Ben Young still plants the truly horrifying seed of uncertainty that young Vicki encounters.
This is the world of Eve and John White… a seemingly typical thirty-something couple. Young, in love and happy. Oh… and yet they enjoy abducting, torturing and killing teenage girls. While out on the prowl one night they immediately target gussied-up Vicki. With promises of weed and alcohol, Vicki obliges sans major hesitation and accepts the offer to accompany the couple to their home for a quick pit stop. And then the terror sets in…
Shackled to a bed screaming, sexually depraved Eve and husband John begin to use Vicki as their private play toy. But, there is something different about this go-around. Eve experiences pangs of jealousy when John takes opportunities to be alone with Vicki.
Not forgoing her attempts to please her domineering husband, Eve completes every dutiful daily task, worshipping John and taking care to bathe and feed their newest sex slave, Vicki. Eve’s internal demons begin to surface as she pleads with John to kill off the girl. Sensing the Achilles heel in their warped relationship, Vicki devises her plan to drive a wedge between the insane couple.
Not much gore, not much blood, yet plenty of fear and heartbreak. This is quite the disturbing tale of pure fright laid upon a defenseless girl and her struggle for survival. Vicki’s screams will resonate even after Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” rolls into the credits.
Writer-director Ben Young has hit a homerun with a horror flick that has little to no extreme violence. However, it is so psychologically upsetting that if you are a parent… you’ll want to hug your child endlessly.
Meredith Brown, Horrorpedia
“The greatest feat of Ben Young’s tremendously accomplished directorial debut is that it tackles an easily sensationalized narrative with uncanny poise and a sharp understanding of the power of empathetic identification.” Tom Kiesecoms, Screen Anarchy
” …why would I want to care about characters whose backstories are so immaterial? Young has a good idea here, but doesn’t work hard enough to flesh out the Whites so that their pre-Vicki lives are as rich as their current actions are degrading. Hounds of Love is ultimately an ugly film whose ambitions are never matched by its creators’ limited abilities.” Simon Abrams, RogerEbert.com
Cast and characters:
- Emma Booth as Evelyn White
- Ashleigh Cummings as Vicki Maloney
- Stephen Curry as John White
- Susie Porter as Maggie Maloney
- Damian de Montemas as Trevor Maloney
- Harrison Gilbertson as Jason
- Fletcher Humphrys as Gary