Familiar Scares of ‘Greta’ Has Too Many Plot Holes

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Admittedly, horror films are not my thing. I find them redundant, pandering and more reliant on gore rather than story. “Greta” is somewhat of a thriller horror film, about an older lady stalker preying on a younger New York City woman, but it had both a seen-it-before and unreliable plot.

It is directed by Neil Jordan, of “The Crying Game” and “Michael Collins” fame, and he did precisely cast the film, which helps it. Isabelle Huppert is the creepy older lady and child-actor-in-transition Chloë Grace Moretz is the young stalkee, and they are game to deliver – but the story has the same old jump scares, a hidden room and lame motivation problems. And man, the plot holes! It’s New York City and I know that crimes are underreported, but I think if the police were involved (as they are here) addresses would be written down. But for the sake of this plot, they’re not!

Moretz is Frances, a transplant to NYC who is living with roommate Erica (Maika Monroe) in the Tribeca neighborhood (rent free! Woo-hoo!). Frances finds an expensive purse on the subway, and like a good Samaritan brings it back to the owner Greta (Isabelle Huppert). Because Frances’ mother has just passed away, she connects to the older matron in a daughter-like way, but she soon discovers that her new friend is off her rocker.

I Live in NYC Rent Free! Chloë Grace Moretz in ‘Greta’
Photo credit: Focus Features

She tries to break the relationship, but Greta begins to stalk her, enough that Frances goes to the police (who legally can’t help her). The situation gets grimmer, and Greta’s secret past gives her an upper hand to continue. Frances finds that she is trapped, and it ultimately becomes a confrontation between her and the pursuer.

The story has the elements of the horror thriller, but all the plot points have to add up in a row… Greta’s obsession has to be unrelenting, her past must give her the tools to take the stalk to the next level, the police have to be uninterested, Frances doesn’t change her phone number, and Greta’s large New York City apartment must be rent controlled (kidding). In essence, to get to where the horror begins there has be a lot of suspension of disbelief.

As mentioned, both Huppert and Moretz do perform their characters with some different-spin energy, Huppert in particular relishes the harsh lonely psycho by just being present, and controlling the game through her rules (Greta must know the stalking laws pretty well). I’ve also been a fan of Maika Monroe over the years, as she has progressed from being a “scream queen” in independent horror favorites like “The Guest” and “It Follows,” to the “roommate” in this higher end thriller.

Moretz and Isabelle Huppert as the Title Character in ‘Greta’
Photo credit: Focus Features

Also as asserted, the situation must have some truth if we’re to believe the old lady’s obsession … it’s not set up to work that way. The ultimate confrontation takes place at Greta’s apartment, which I would say with certainty that the address would be filed in the police report. What would be the point of reporting the stalking to the cops? But in advancing the situation there it is, so no one knows where the old dame lives at a crucial point.

Besides the casting, this felt like a by-the-numbers assignment for director Neil Jordan (who did contribute to the screenplay). For the guy known for one of the great reveals of movie history in “The Crying Game,” the laziness of Greta will just make you cry.

“Greta” opens everywhere on March 1st. Featuring Isabelle Huppert, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe, Jeff Hiller and Stephen Rea. Written by Neil Jordan and Ray Wright. Directed by Neil Jordan. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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