If you are looking for a prime example of how to ruin some excellent source material, look no further than The Woman in the Window. This film struggles to achieve any genuine thrills and chills, it fails to live up to its stellar cast and it pales in comparison to the many movies it pays tribute to. A spectacularly disappointing feature that I will have a hard time remembering…
Based on the thrilling best-selling novel by A.J Finn, an agoraphobic child psychologist notices a new family moves in across the street from her. Curiocity washes over her as she begins keeping tabs on her new neighbours in New York City Brownstone. Her life suddenly unravels when she witnesses a brutal act of violence committed.
The good, or rather, the tolerable
A New York City Brownstone with gorgeous windows and that undeniable charm makes for an excellent setting because it offers lots of dark corners to keep the audience on its toes and it actually got the film off to an interesting start. We slowly understand the routine of Anna Fox (Amy Adams) as she hosts her patients at her house, gets her groceries delivered, and even has a charming tenant (Wyatt Russell) that doubles as her handyman. Watching all of these things unfold immediately brought some amazing movies such as Rear Window and the Shia LaBeouf classic Disturbia. My interest was at an all time high because I just wanted a similar experience to both those films.
The interactions that Anna has with the boy (Fred Hechiner) and his mother (Julianne Moore) from across the street left a weird taste in my mouth. The reason being that when she interacted with the boy, I felt like the movie was trying really hard to make us sympathize with his character due to his shy demeanor and very adorable characterizations. I preferred Anne’s talk with the boy’s mother because she didn’t appear to have a filter and was unapologetically comfortable no matter where she went.
An abrupt change in tone
Around the 40 minute mark of the movie, I was still invested. Anne suddenly grows worried about the boy across the street. So, she does her best impression of Jimmy Stewart from Rear Window. She grabs her camera and places it in front of her window so she can watch the Russell family closely. While she is spying, she witnesses the mother getting brutally stabbed in the stomach, which was fine on its own. However, when this crazy moment happens, blood cartoonishly splashes across the screen. It looked as if someone took a bottle of ketchup and squeezed it. I was mortified, not out of fear, but because the spontaneous sauce made the stabbing feel hilarious rather than serious, which made me question if I was watching a campy thriller, as opposed to a more serious one.
When the police finally get involved, every main character suddenly has the urge to yell in every scene that they are in from here on out. This took me out of the story because I believe the intent of the yelling was to add more suspense to the situation. However, I found it really annoying because it felt quite overdramatic. I was missing the quieter scenes from the first film because they were more suspenseful and attributed to the tense atmosphere that was present in the beginning. It was as if the director changed his mind about what kind of movie he wanted to make halfway through filming.
An unexpectedly funny third act
I can’t believe I am saying this, but the third act was laugh out loud funny. Also, they jumbled too many twists on top of one another, which made them really hard to process and digest. Without giving away anything that happens, the major twist was very poorly revealed and executed. I believe I was supposed to feel frightened and worried during the last act, but I couldn’t stop laughing at a lot of things that happened. For example, at one point, the camera zooms in on Amy Adams and she screams at the top of her lungs. It was as if I was watching a completely different film. This, along with the rest of what happened felt forced and even its ending was anticlimactic and rushed. It’s as if they started hating the project halfway through and just finished it as quickly as possible.
Flightplan with Jodie Foster came to mind during my viewing of The Woman in the Window. So, do yourself a favour, skup this and watch Flightplan instead or better yet, read the novel it’s based on by A.J Finn because I promise, this is not what she was expecting either. It executed its plot twists exceptionally better and it understood how to maintain the same tone throughout. The Woman in the Window suffers from a serious identity crisis due to its jarring shifts between chilling suspense and b-movie moments, it wastes the talents of its exceptional cast and director, and the ending was unintentionally funny and rushed. This adaptation was simply lost in translation because it appears everyone involved lost interest as they were making it.
CHILL AND WATCH