Perfect Strangers - Review 14

9 October 2003
by Vicky Roach
Rating: 3.5/5

A working class thirty something good sort heads to the pub on Friday night looking for Mr Right – or at least Mr Good Enough.

Four sheets to the wind, her thick blue eye shadow smudged, she pulls a cigarette from a torn packet.

A handsome stranger with a twinkle in his eye materialises as if from nowhere, to light it for her.

They laugh, flatter, and finally go home together. Sounds too good to be true? Well of course he is.

Our neighbours across the Tasman seem to have a rather darker view of romance and so it is with Gaylene Preston's latest film set on the wild west coast of New Zealands South Island.

When Melanie (Rachael Blake) wakes up the next morning, she finds herself literally at sea.

'His place' turns out to be a shack on an uninhabited island towards which they have chugged all night.

In the right circumstances this might be very romantic but the man (Sam Neill) at the helm is extremely intense and Melanie is trapped.

To reveal much more would be to spoil the film's surprises. Suffice to say PERFECT STRANGERS has more twists than Chubby Checker, one too many perhaps.

The film walks a tightrope between fantasy and obsession. But despite its bunny boiling beginnings, PERFECT STRANGERS is no FATAL ATTRACTION or MISERY but more a Grimm Sisers fairytale in which the balance of power is passed back and forth between the two.

A macabre romance played with chilling conviction by its handsome leads.