Image courtesy Focus Features.
9/10 Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger didn’t even make $1 million — after a three weekend release, it’s wallowing at $713,143 domestic while most of the country was watching Crazy Rich Asians. Given how well The Nun would do just afterward, I think a lot of people genuinely wouldn’t understand what they missed out on.
In 1947, Dr. Farraday (Domhnall Gleeson, Oliver Zetterström as a child) is summoned to Hundreds Hall, home of the wealthy Ayers family, to tend to the family’s last remaining house maid Betty (Liv Hill). It is not the first time Farraday has seen the mansion. He was there when it first opened in 1919, when his mother was one of a host of the family’s servants.
The house of Ayers has fallen into extreme disrepair in the 30 years since, both in wealth and political power and in its physical manifestation, Hundreds Hall. The mansion’s entire upper floor has been abandoned. Its master Roderick (Will Poulter), who returned from the war with horrifying burns on most of his body and a mangled leg, believes a menace is lurking in the halls. “There’s something in this house that hates us,” he says.
Indeed, as Farraday treats Betty, then Roderick, then moves on to the family matriarch Angela (Charlotte Rampling) while taking a romantic interest in her last remaining child Caroline (Ruth Wilson), more and stranger misfortunes begin to befall the Ayers family. Angela is convinced that the spirit of her favorite daughter Susan (Tipper Siefert-Cleveland), who fell suddenly ill and died the very day in 1919 that Farraday first glimpsed the mansion, is haunting them from the abandoned upper floor.