The Stylist Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
Writers: Jill Gevargizian (Story), Eric Haven (Script)
Director: Jill Gevargizian
Starring: Najarra Townsend, Jennifer Plas, Angela Dupuie
Genre: Horror, Drama
How It Can Be Seen: Shudder channel
I'd like to think I have seen my fair share of short films in the past year. However, until recently this one has burrowed itself into my consciousness and has been immediately added to my personal list of all time favorite short films! Two years ago Jill Gevargizian grabbed us by the throat with her directorial debut of Call Girl starring American Mary's Tristan Risk and an actor who is no stranger to the horror genre, Laurence Harvey! It was a short that lasted for merely 6 minutes. But in that 6 minutes you a chilling little plot about a creepy man who orders a call girl (Tristan Risk) and is seemed to be under orders to kill the Call Girl when suddenly the tables are turned on him, and on us the viewers! A seemingly simple plot but truly effective in the way it was executed and performed. It showed us what Jill was capable of as a director and damn it if I wasn't convinced right there and then to stick with whatever she was going to do after that! 2 Women In Horror: Massive Blood Drive PSA Shorts for the Soska Sisters and a few shorts later, and we arrive to last year's The Stylist!
Up until this point Jill's films had been more on the fun side, presenting to us that she is fully capable of doing the horror genre justice while having fun with it, but with The Stylist this one seems to be taking the genre a little more seriously and while adding in a dose of psychological drama to it. The film is about a hair stylist by the name of Claire who is very to herself and lonely. You can tell she longs for more out of her existence. But when her last client of the night comes in asking to be made looking perfect, it isn't like that was the straw that broke the camel's back, however it does mean that Claire is about to take matters into her hands - Literally. You won't be expecting what comes next after that and by the end of it you won't exactly be repulsed by Claire either. This character is one of the most compelling I have seen in Any film, much less a short one at that! Jill re-teamed with Call Girl writer Eric Haven and created a character so richly detailed, so between that and actress Najarra Townsend's flawless performance as Claire, taking your eyes off her and what is happening is no easy task. I mean, why would you want to? Yes, what Claire does is extreme and vile, but how she does what she does is never done quickly and with much vigor. She isn't doing it while laughing maniacally. It's more in a manner consistent with it being just another day at work. She is a beautiful broken doll who is seeking perfection, and Najarra herself exudes that perfection in playing her. And let's touch on the exceptionally gorgeous cinematography by Robert Patrick Stern! The picture was stunning, soft and warm, a far contrast to what was happening in the film. So it made it all the more alluring to watch. Filmmaker John Pata also pitched in lending his amazing editing skills, which was very direct and to the point, much like the cinematography. Nothing flashy, but certainly keeping your attention in a choke-hold. The Stylist is an elegantly brutal film that radiates emotional depth!