‘…the shrill nature of her quest eventually leads to fatigue rather than intensity…’

The opening credits give the title Marionette, so obviously there’s been a change-of-heart somewhere along the line in Elbert van Strien’s derivative thriller. ‘Who is really pulling the strings?’ asks the tag-line, and when the answer comes, it’s something of a let-down. Spoiler alert, if you’ve seen Serenity, you’ve seen this story, although the horror lineage goes right back to The Sixth Sense and even Carnival of Souls. It’s something of a mystery why a film would be made on this particular subject; audiences didn’t like this concept with an all-star cast and an exotic setting, so when the draws are Aberdeen and brief cameos from Bill Paterson and Peter Mullan, it’s unlikely to shake the world, pandemic or not.

Thelka Reuten plays Marianne Winter, a child-psychologist who is charged with a young man who seems to be able to predict the future, Medusa Touch-style. As often in this kind of film, freaky crayon drawings seem to be the method by which frissons are created. Winter is keen to establish the how and why of the boy’s behaviour, but the deeper she gets, the more muddled things are. Is the boy a fake, or for real, or is Marianne just a figment of his own imaginary world? And what does Marianne’s own troubled past indicate about her investigation?

Repression looks good, with attractive locations and some attempt at atmosphere, but the dynamics of the plot defeat good intentions. Government funding bodies pride themselves in not following trends, but re-treading such a familiar story in such a generic lo-fi way hobble any impact, and unconvincing detail in the US-set sections jumbles the plot-points. Reuten does a decent job with the heroine, but the shrill nature of her quest eventually leads to fatigue rather than intensity.

Repression is the kind of public-funding jolly which doesn’t service an audience; it’s no surprise that of the 80 plus films Creative Scotland have put public cash into, only a handful have returned any profit. Instead of providing help for local film-makers, CS have seemed content to finance external productions in Scotland, thus scuppering any local indie scene and confounding any NGO’s that try to foster grass-roots film-making. Like Marianne, financers seem to have existed in a cosy dream world that, as funding for such fanciful pursuits dries up, may well be on it’s last gasp.

Signature Entertainment presents Repression on Digital HD 28th September

Thanks to Signature Entertainment for advance access to this title.


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  1. Hmm…well….it’s a maybe for me. Despite it sounding like a real let down, I do like my horrors as you know, so I often give even the bad ones a chance😀

  2. While I didn’t realize the catch for Sixth Sense until the reveal, Carnival of Souls, well, you couldn’t help but figure it out as they shoved it into your face.

    One positive thing I can say about this movie: It doesn’t star Chevy Chase! 😉

      • Dude, I thought we were friends!?
        Friends don’t threaten friends with Chevy Chase. I’m going to have to think about if we can truly be Ironing Masters together now.

          • You’ve got a nick name for him!?!?

            You need help, some SERIOUS help. I recommend calling your gp right away. Wake that guy up and tell him the Dr Bookstooge diagnosed you as clinically insane and you need some benzoate valium prescribed pronto!

                    • It is when a gentleman of taste watches back to back films featuring Chevy Chase as costume-changing detective Fletch. It’s a very civilised form of entertainment.

                    • You need that benzoate valium STAT!!

                      I’m calling the W-H-O and reporting you as Victim Zero for an outbreak of Heavy Chevy’itis…

                    • Can’t imagine that Roger Daltry’s classic British rock band will be interested in a pandemic of Chevy Chase enjoyment…

                    • See, you’re exhibiting classic signs of Heavy Chevy’itis already. Deliberate misinterpretation of commonly known acronyms is like Number 2 on the list of symptoms! I suspect your case is terminal…

                    • Telling you, you’re sick and in desperate need of immediate medical attention. The ONLY way to recover is if you resist every inclination to watch more Chevy Chase movies. Otherwise, I’m afraid, well, that you’ll DIE.

                      (you can tell I’m a certified professional doctor by my great bedside manner. I put all my patients at ease so easily)

                    • I’m going on a Chevy Chase marathon just to show you! Three Amigos time! Nobody puts El Cheverino in a corner!

                    • Good question. Do we want someone who can compete with us on being so funny (and possibly upstage us in the movie?) or do we want a straight man to play off of?

                    • How many roles do you want in this film, either you’re a detective or Sherlock Holmes, one or the other. Always building up your part…

                    • How ever many roles Chevy has, I want 3 times as many. I’ll show him, and the entire world, what a tired hasbeen he is.

                      Not that I have a personal agenda against the man, you understand. It’s for the sake of Art.

                    • Look, I’m quite happy for you to enjoy Book 7 of The Nine Subquests of Jaggeroth and the Mandibles of Quaak, why can’t you allow me to enjoy a bit of urbane comedy?

                    • But do friends really let friends enjoy Chevy Chase? Isn’t it my civic, nay, my MORAL duty to help you come away from the edge of the abyss before it’s too late?

                    • I get it. It’s an intervention, and you guys all mean well. I haven’t watched a Chevy Chase film for days, and I don’t feel I have to in order to have a good time. It’s purely occasional use of the Cheverino. Nothing sinister about it.

                    • Don’t worry, we’re all here for you. I’m sure Fraggle and Raist and everyone else too, just wants what’s best for you.

                      Just remember, admitting you have a problem is the first step in overcoming the problem.

                    • Rest assured there is no problem. Got a boxed set of French art house movies to watch tonight. Les Vacances de Clark Griswold. Should help get get my mind of Chevy…

    • I really didn’t think anyone would mimic Serenity for some time, and that’s a shame because Repression had the money and the cast to do something that wasn’t just another take on a widely seen film…

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