Film Review – Nocebo (2022)

Wealthy families and Nannies seem to go hand in hand in the horror genre. After the weirdness of Lorcan Finnegan’s Twilight Zone chiller Vivarium, things get supernatural in his follow up Nocebo.

The nanny is here to help you!

Eva Green drowning in a psychological crisis as a children’s fashion designer Christine. She is suffering from a mysterious illness which frustrates the doctors as much as Christine and her husband Felix as they search for a cure. Help comes in shape of a new Filipino nanny Diana (Chai Fonacier), who greets Christine on her doorstep ‘I’m here for you’

Lorcan Finnegan is good at getting our protagonists trapped in a viscous nightmare. In Vivarium, Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg stuck in a suburban hell with an mysterious unbearable child. In Nocebo that child is replaced by a Nanny who may or may not be hiding a secret. Diana just appears from nowhere and Felix(Mark Strong) and daughter Bobs (Billie Gadson) are suspicious, for Christine she’s a god send.

The film doesn’t hold back that not all is well for Christine. Early on, she’s at a store setting up a fashion show. Things kicks off well for her until she receives a call and that changes everything. Whatever is said it’s distressing for her, what we do we can hear is ‘they are pulling out bodies’ . Also a blind dog appears whose fur is infested with ticks, terrifies Christine who has a breakdown. 8 months later she is recovering from that breakdown and that illness seems to be tick borne related.

After Christine’s break down she suffers spasms, nerve pain, memory loss. Did Christine actually hire Diana?

As we see more of Diana’s Mary Poppin’s persona, we get a glimpse into her own life. Slowly learning both women share parallel lifelines, could she be more than just a nanny? There is a folk element in this one as much as there’s a psychological element. The baby bird connection also plays here too (also in Finnegan’s previous film).

Nocebo explores guilt and the exploitation of workers who create the clothes for the fashion industry. The conditions the workers work in are atrocious but when it’s all in the name of £££ no one cares . Felix who is also a marketing strategist also sees people as £££ signs. On the budget the film has Finnegan does do well to portray that mix of horror with socio-political issues.

Eva Green and Chai Fonacier carry the film really well, the lack of dialogue leaves you frustrated . The pacing lets things down and they struggle to stretch things out, running out in the final third.

Nocebo may not have the same impact as Vivarium, it is still unsettling and harrowing watch. Only threatening to get too melodramatic for it’s own liking.

★★★

Thriller, Horror | Ireland, 2022 | 15 | cinema, Digital HD | Vertigo Releasing | Dir.Lorcan Finnegan | Eva Green, Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billy Gadson, Cathy Belton

This review was originally posted at The Peoples Movies on 15th December 2022 | Original review link

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