Cert 15 103mins Stars 3

Rape, murder, incest and a large fortune are laid out for examination in this cold hard slab of American gothic murder mystery.

Based on a famous double killing in Massachusetts in 1892, the script is hugely speculative about the causes and perpetrators of the crime, and follows a narrative championed by Ed McBain’s 1984 novel of the same name.

Kristen Stewart plays an Irish maid who begins work in a wealthy household and within six months Chloe Sevigny is put on trial for the brutal death of her domineering father and stepmother by an axe-wielding psychopath.

A great deal of abuse take place off camera before we witness the gruesome double murder, staged in the bloody style of Christian Bale’s American Psycho in which Sevigny also starred.

It’s a typically arresting performance by Stewart in another of the arthouse productions she’s favoured since her blockbuster Twilight days, however she returns to the Hollywood bright lights in next year’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels.

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