Director: Stacey Gregg
Talent: Andrea Riseborough, Jonjo O’Neill, Eileen O’Higgins, Martin McCann, Niamh Dornan, Lewis McAskie
Released: February 18th
Stacey Gregg is perhaps, best known, in these parts for theatre work such as Shibboleth but she’s been writing for TV (Riviera, Little Birds). Here Before marks her debut feature, one she’s penned also, and it is assured and accomplished at every turn.
When a new family move in next door to Laura (Riseborough), the daughter, Megan (Dornan), stirs up painful memories of her own daughter, Josie, who tragically died several years earlier. Gradually, this fascination turns into an obsession unleashing questions as to whether Megan may actually be Josie. It’s taut, finely attuned to uniquely Northern Irish turns of phrase, and has a borderline bleak autumnal palate observed by D.O.P. Chloë Thomson and teased out by a crisp score by composer Adam Janota Bzowski (Saint Maud).
As Lauren grapples with sanity, her husband Brendan (O’Neill) tries to comfort her whilst their truculent son Tadhg (McAskie) lays the blame at Megan. Neighbours Marie (O’Higgins) and Chris (McCann) watch Lauren unravel, whilst the shadow of implication is cast over upon them, though it’s hard to pin.
What particularly delights in Here Before is that it could erupt at any moment, there’s an edge-of-seat plausibility to performances and scenes, tightly wound, yet infused with realism.
In Gregg, a directorial star is born.
Words: Michael McDermott