Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2021 gave Mother of Movies more than we bargained for with The Stylist. It’s one thing that all the movies presented at this annual flick-fest come from the minds and talents of women and nonbinary filmmakers. But it’s quite another that writer-director Jill Gevargizian is bulldozing past boundaries with this story about a very unique hairstylist. This horror feature film comes off the back of a rather grisly short film I watched back in 2019 (On Alter.) With additional writing from Eric Havens and Eric Stolze, the story follows Claire. It opens with a scene many of us a familiar with.
Claire (Najarra Townsend) is a pretty redhead, she’s fair and quietly spoken. Seated in front of her, a beautiful brunette relaying her most intimate secrets to what is ultimately a stranger. As the last of what can be assumed to be a long string of clients, the two talk like old friends.
It’s from this idea, a trip to the hair-dresser sparks a memorable movie. It makes you wonder whether there might be ill-effects for a hairstylist. Holding each person’s lives in their brain, day in and day out. One can only assume Claire has discovered this intimacy doesn’t trickle over into day to day life. Perhaps she longs for that connection to be real so much she has turned to external hobbies. Most choose a craft, hiking, or perhaps even obtain a couple of cats to fill the void of loneliness. But not Claire.
What Secrets Have You Told Your Hair Stylist?
I have to admit, I am not a fan of some type of gore. Proper gorehounds will watch this and think nothing of what Claire has turned into a manic pass time. But for Mother of Movies, as Clair’s last client of the day slips into unconsciousness and drops her complimentary wine glass I was unprepared. I had earphones on and the combination of the squelchy sound effects as Clair cut across Dawn’s forehead and expertly removed her scalp, I retched. For some movie-lovers, fingernails being torn off as a screaming victim is dragged across wood floors is their least favorite horror trope. I would hazard a guess that this is mine.
I pressed on. Claire is an interesting character. What she does with her new hair was something I needed to know. The narrative tiptoes rather than picks up the pace and it just made it all the more compelling. When a long-term client Olivia (Brea Grant) enters the story begging for Clair to be her wedding stylist the tension is palpable. What also happens is a smidge of empathy for Clair. Just a tiny bit. But ultimately this demure and talented hairstylist is one unhinged lady. She is unstable and unbalanced in a way that will make you wonder what her end game is.
What’s more, the tinkering score and throbbing bass set the perfect balance in this drama infused horror movie. The supporting cast was great and I particularly liked seeing Mille Milan (Clownado and Bonehill Road) show up as Olivia’s best friend.
One thing is certain though, and that is you need to stick around for the finale folks, because it’s deliciously sadistic.
I give The Stylist
3.75 I’m never telling my stylist anything ever again out of 5
Trailer for The Stylist
- Mother of Movies is part of the press for 2021’s Final Girls Berlin Film Festival. The Stylist was acquired as a screener for review purposes.
- Directed by Jill Gevargizian,
- Written by Jill Gevargizian, Eric Stolze and Eric Havens
- Produced by Claw Productions,
- The Stylist has been picked up by Arrow films, you can expect to see it from March 1st, 2021. I would assume it will be available on their new streaming platform.
- Additionally, for more information on FGBFF, see the festival curtain-raiser.