At a time when we are all cooped up indoors, watching a film based around suspicious neighbours and things that go bump in the night might not seem like the most sensible of suggestions. However, for those of you who get your kicks from films filled with squirm-inducing suspense, Cordelia is here to provide all the spine-tingling terror you need this winter.
Starring Antonia Campbell-Hughes as Cordelia, the film centres around a once-promising actress who lives through a life-altering event. Years later, Cordelia is still dealing with the trauma and living a reclusive existence in her dark London flat. Thankfully, her twin sister Caroline is always on hand to help in moments of distress – that is, until Caroline decides to spend a weekend away with her new boyfriend.
Thoroughly upset at the idea of being left alone, Cordelia tries to keep herself distracted with rehearsals for a production of King Lear. During a coffee break, she happens to run into her neighbour Frank (Johnny Flynn), a charming cellist who lives alone in the flat above her. While they don’t exactly hit it off, Cordelia is willing to keep Frank company in order to avoid her empty apartment, and agrees to meet him for a drink after work.
Here’s where things start to get strange. Despite being located in heaving Covent Garden, Cordelia arrives at the pub to find it empty. As they sit down, Frank suggests they take a selfie to mark the occasion (weird), which culminates in a disquieting discovery on Frank’s phone.
Back at the flat, Cordelia is subject to a string of cold calls to her landline, each one more unsettling than the last. Cordelia begins to lose touch with reality, leaving her confused between what’s real and what’s lingering from her traumatic past.
While Cordelia certainly has its watch-from-behind-your-hands moments, the film delivers more of a constant sense of unease than anything else. This eerie feeling is what makes its description as a thriller debatable, as it lacks any real high-level theatrics. Still, with only a very small supporting cast, the main actors do well to keep viewers invested. Barely leaving the gloomy interior of Cordelia's ground floor flat, the film creates a claustrophobic environment which adds to the mounting tension throughout its short 91-minute running time.
Pulling on loneliness and the fear of isolation, Cordelia couldn’t really be better timed to make an impact on audiences. Though its inclusion of mental health conditions to create suspense is somewhat problematic, it does spark a conversation around the alienating presence of PTSD and survivor's guilt in the lives of trauma victims. If you're looking for something to keep you on the edge of your seat, Cordelia is certainly the film for you. Just don’t expect an ending that will soothe you to sleep.
Cordelia will be available to watch on Apple TV, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon from 30th November