Logline: A young woman, sexually repulsed by men and mentally disturbed, begins to descend into madness when she is left alone by her sister.
Review: Roman Polanski’s follow up to his excellent debut film, Knife in the Water (1962), Repulsion is a psychological horror masterpiece that takes the viewer into the fractured mind of a young beautiful woman named Carol (Catherine Deneuve). The film holds similarities to Polanski’s fifth feature, Rosemary’s Baby (1968), another excellent horror film.
The film opens with an extreme closeup of Carol’s eye. Carol will serve as the viewer’s point of view for the rest of the film. Polanski, who also co-wrote the screenplay, slowly reveals Carol’s madness until she loses her sanity completely. The film is visually striking with images that belong in a surrealist nightmare. The skinned rabbit whose flesh is rotting and the overflowing bathtub serve as symbols for Carol’s madness. The film’s images linger in the mind longer than most horror films especially the final image, a closeup of Carol as a young girl in a family portrait. This haunting image subtly and brilliantly reveals the reasons behind Carol’s madness.
Polanski’s camera moves seamlessly and effortlessly in and out of the confined spaces in which Carol finds herself. The film’s simplicity allows for a more authentic film experience. Deneuve, not yet the international sensation that she would become, delivers a great subdued performance.
Repulsion is an intelligent horror masterpiece that takes the viewer inside the mind of a mentally disturbed female.
Rating (out of ****): ****