Emitai [1971] – A Thoughtful African Perspective on the Colonial Era


Ousmane Sembene, who has made a series of seminal Senagalese movies, is generally hailed as the ‘father of African cinema’. Born in 1923, Sembene has worked at the docks of Marseilles, where he got acquainted with French trade union movement, and later the commuist party. He wrote his first novel Black Docker in 1956 and his much acclaimed novel God’s Bits of Wood in the year 1960. Since Sembene felt writing could only enable him to reach the circle of cultural elite, he opted to get trained in cinema from a Moscow film school. He made his first short Borrom Sarret in 1963 and his first feature film in 1966, titled La Noire de (‘Black Girl’). While Sembene’s first two feature films – Black Girl and Mandabi (1968) – dealt with neocolonialism, i.e., set in the period after Senegal’s independence from France (on June 20, 1960), his third film Emitai (1971) is set in the colonial era as French troops abducted young African men to fight in World War II.


Sembene’s cinema has repeatedly offered counter-narrative to the colonizer’s representations of Africanness. Some of his earlier films, including Emitai, exhibit a kind of cinematic roughness compared to the smooth production techniques employed in European and American cinema. But Sembene’s uncompromising subject matter and his ability to innovate filmic medium as a way of fighting against neocolonial oppression make him one of the influential members of the ‘third cinema’. The term ‘third cinema’, first coined by Argentinian film-makers Fernando Solanos and Octavio Gettino, hints at the use of revolutionary film techniques to shine light on the condition of disenfranchised people around the world, and to further arouse them to come together and revolt in masses. Of course the radicalism promoted in such films encountered threat of censorship, ban, and imprisonment (‘third cinema’ largely met its demise in the age of globalization).




Ousmane Sembene has once declared that, We have to have the courage to say that in the colonial period we were sometimes colonized with the help of our own leaders. We mustn't be ashamed of our faults and our errors.” Perhaps, this remark is at the heart of every Sembene’s rich, complex dramas that tackle the myriad ways the colonial era and neo-colonialism is haunting the African consciousness. Apart from the unsavory portrayal of the French colonizers, Sembene persistently alludes to patriarchal dominance in the tribes. Interestingly, the film-maker suggests the rise of Abrahamic religions and European colonialism in the African region as the reason for an oppressive patriarchial system. Women in traditional African system is said to be largely free from sexual exploitation and oppression. It is alleged that only with the colonialist suppression, the women’s status in African society and the egalitarianism of ethnic tribes were lost. Emitai echoes this line of thought and it’s expressed more profoundly in Sembene’s swansong, Moolade (2004).


Emitai revolves around the Diola people, a small ethnic minority living in the Casamance region of Senegal (the region of Sembene’s birth), who possesses distinct culture, gods, and language. The elders in Diola act as a kind of spokesperson, conversing and learning the mandate of gods and spirits (‘Emitai’ is the name for their ‘god of thunder’). The tribe’s women take over the major responsibility of cultivating and harvesting the rice crops. The Diolas believe rice crop is sacred and it is the property of the gods. Emitai opens with able-bodied young men of Diola village abducted and then recruited for French Foreign Legion. 



The colonial troops are enlisted to serve in the army of Marshal Petain. As World War II escalates and foreign troops increases in number, the colonial administration impose a new rice tax across Senegal. Fearing resistance, troops march with guns to seize 50 tons of Diola’s rice-crop. The elders, including the village-chief, wait for gods’ counsel in front of a shrine. But the gods stay silent despite the ritual sacrifices to appease their anger. Meanwhile, the black African soldiers, under the orders of a French commander, round up the village’s woman. The Diolas may have lost their sons and brothers to the French colonizers, but the rice solely meant for spiritual sustenance couldn’t be given up. The elders’ humiliation, the women’s resistance, and the savagery of the French allow Sembene to construct a multi-layered examination of ruthless colonial economy and inflexible cultural beliefs.


It could be argued that the rice cereal, primary reason for the conflict and the eventual tragedy, could be given away by the villagers since it’s largely needed for religious ceremonies. The French argue they need it for their troops at war. But towards the film’s end, there’s news of Marshal Petain getting replaced by General de Gaulle and subsequently the French demand for overseas food is put into question. Moreover, Sembene doesn’t attune to official history and hail de Gaulle as the hero who resisted Nazi rule. For the West African soldiers who take this change with bafflement (ironically they only argue over the ludicrousness of a 'General' taking over from a 'Marshal'), there are no fundamental differences and they are still colonized subjects of the French empire. 




From an aesthetic perspective, Emitai, similar to all other Sembene’s movies, promotes framing techniques that keeps certain distance from individual characters, for the purpose of contemplation as well as to wholly regard the collective tribal society. Sembene use of language is particularly interesting in Emitai. The elders of Diola use language to make decisions for the collective. Yet the language only serves to divide them as they repeatedly talk of the humiliation and stay in their corner. The Diola women rarely utter a word in the narrative, but they use silence to take a collective action against the French. 


The gods in Emitai more or less serve as dreadful phantoms that look as much threatening as their colonial oppressors. In one dreamy sequence when the village chief’s life fades away, Sembene takes us into the reality of the Diola’s religious belief. The sequence respects as well as subtly undermines the native customs and traditions. Nevertheless, Sembene believes that the rituals and customs cause less harm than the ones caused by foreign colonizers. In his after-life, the village-chief appears in front of gods and denounces them for their inaction as if he is their equal, but the same inclusiveness couldn’t expected from the 'foreign devils'. 


Emitai (97 minutes) certainly suffers from the kind of visual roughness, found in most of ‘third cinema’. The non-professional actors also couldn’t do much to smooth out such problems. However, film-makers like Ousmane Sembene bring forth a more plural, ambiguous vision of African history, social structure, and culture which isn’t tainted by the Western influences. 


Touki Bouki [1973] – A Visually Striking Critique on Post-Colonial Mentality and Hollow Dreams


Apart from being a master storyteller, Martin Scorsese was well-known for his encyclopedic knowledge about cinema and for his commitment to preserve or restore the lost and forgotten cinematic gems of 20th century. In 1990, the American film-maker founded non-profit group Film Foundation which aided in restoring a great number of American, British and West European movies. Later in 2007, Scorsese founded the World Cinema Project (WCP) to revive cinematic wonders from countries that has perpetually missed out on film preservation efforts. The mission of WCP is to focus on distinct cinema that has been wholly left out of Western reading of the film history. The first in the WCP series represented films from Sengegal, Turkey, Morocco, Bangladesh, South Korea, and Mexico. 


Directed by Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety, the resplendently restored version of Touki Bouki (aka Hyena’s Journey, 1973) is an energetic and overtly symbolic document of a specific time and place rarely witnessed on-screen. Djibril Diop Mambety was 28 years of age when he made Touki Bouki, who didn’t receive any formal training in cinema (he made his first short Contras’ City at the age of 24). Satirical and wildly experimental, Mr. Mambety’s visual imagery makes passing references to Nouvelle Vague, especially the films of Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, Pierrot Le fou). Mambety intended Touki Bouki to be the first of trilogy of film about the effects of neocolonialism on the African mindset. However, it took the director 19 years to return with his next feature film Hyenas (1992), a corrosive tale of human greed and corruption. Mr. Mabety was later diagnosed with lung cancer and died in 1998 before he could make the third film.   


Touki Bouki


Djibril Diop Mambety has embraced film-making at the time Senegalese and African cinema on the whole was young. Ousmane Sembene, hailed as Father of African Cinema, made his first feature Black Girl in 1966, which was touted as the first film made by a Black African. With French production companies aiding the young African natives, soon several exciting and new film-makers portrayed their unique vision of disintegrated, impoverished yet very lively African society. 


Malian film-maker Souleymanne Cisse (The Wind, Yeleen) and Burkina Faso’s Dani Kouyate (Keita: The Heritage of the Girot) were some of the other African film-makers who followed the path of Sembene and Mambety. Vibrant, marvelously colorful, fantastical and angry in tone, Mambety’s formal and thematic approach is entirely at odds with the works of Ousmane Sembene. Few months back, I read in an essay about African cinema (sorry, couldn’t exactly remember where) that equated Sembene’s approach to sublime works of Yasujiro Ozu and Mambety’s to iconoclastic vision of Nagisa Oshima.



Touki Bouki opens with an explosive and disturbing scene, one that burns into your memory and wakes you up from slumber. A boy leads large horned cows across a dry plain on their way to slaughterhouse, encircled with cacophony of cattle’s screams. The unnamed boy returns back alone and then the narrative cuts to a shot of Mory (Magaye Niang) riding through a shantytown in his motorbike with cow’s horns attached to its front. We see a road sign reading ‘Nice, La Riviera et la Corse’, but it doesn’t indicate the French paradise, but only the shantytown where people dream of escaping from poverty. 


Mory and his college-going girlfriend Anta (Mareme Niang) fantasize about moving to Paris (Josephine Baker’s ‘Paris….Paris’ song is heard in the background) and forge a new life, drawing in the anger of their traditionalist family.  Lacking money to make the trip, the duo concocts different schemes to make their dream a reality. From stealing the earnings of a local wrestling match to ripping-off a wealthy friend, Mory and Anta run amok amid the hometown to purchase a ticket on a ocean liner traveling to Paris. These adventures alternately exudes starkly realistic and a carnivalesque or surrealistic tone.


With Touki Bouki, director Mambety exchanges linear narrative structure for poetic evocations and symbolic values. Perhaps, the director while sharply employing the visual flourishes of French New Wave sees the characters and their immediate surroundings from a very symbolic perspective that there’s not a strong emotional investment. Mory and Anta rather than being fully-realized characters looks like well-adorned conduits expressing the desperation and rebellious mindset of post-colonial African youth. However, Mr. Mabety’s explosive visual tendencies and fiery approach to the themes pushes us to somehow overlook the sparse emotional investment.


The ‘Godardian’ contemplation of the African youth’s false or broken dreams acutely addresses the cultural and moral conflicts between new African society and apparitions of European colonialism. The brilliance of Touki Bouki lies in the way Mambety darts between provocative, tempestuous mood and sad, yearning mood. There’s a brilliant scene where the couple lay naked in smooth, elevated rock, looking over the glistening ocean and desiring for the total freedom. In one comic interlude, Mory nakedly parades aboard a stolen car that cuts to dreamy shot of people welcoming their new political leader. All the disparately toned sequences emphasize how the ‘better life’ that’s comprehended in terms of material wealth doesn’t bestow any greater freedom, but rather makes post-colonial nations to only embrace servitude.


Touki Bouki (95 minutes) is an impressive and daringly experimental African cinema which wildly chronicles two young lovers’ elusive dream of freedom and riches. Despite flaws in structure, acting, and characterization, the outstanding visual conceptualization perfectly delineates the raw genius of the West African film-maker Djibril Diop Mambety.


Bug [2006] – A Profoundly Disturbing Claustrophobic Horror


A lonely and isolated individual could come across a loving personality who’s on the same page with him/her, and from whom a blissful bond is developed. But what if this lonely person meets an unhinged personality, who passes off nothing but a severe dose of paranoia? This happens to be the basic set-up for William Friedkin’s unnerving chamber piece Bug (2006), an adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Broadway play. Of course, the idea that hazardous delusion or extreme mental illness is contagious, isn't instantly convincing. Yet Mr. Friedkin brings up brilliant feverish intensity and verisimilitude to the proceedings so as to cloak it’s otherwise obvious weaknesses. 


Friedkin’s methodical peeling of the layers beneath the simple story turns the horror element predominately metaphoric: as a bizarre contemplation on PTSD or a reflection of our personal and collective insecurities, boosted by government’s corruptible and unfathomable actions. From The Exorcist (1973), Sorcerer (1977) to Killer Joe (2011), William Friedkin has shown willingness to deeply descent into madness and destruction; Bug is a vital addition to that uncompromising vision.



Bug is entirely set in a dingy, low-rent motel room in the middle-of-nowhere. The film opens with a series of helicopter shots to emphasize on the remoteness of the place. These shots are cut to shots of old ringing telephone, the piercing sound infesting the surroundings with high-wire tension. Middle-aged Agnes White (Ashley Judd) occupies a squalid room in the motel. She keeps on receiving the strange phone calls, but when picked up she hears nothing on the other side. The calls might be from her recently paroled and abusive ex-husband (Harry Connick, Jr.). Agnes dreadfully waits for his arrival and only finds solace in chatting with her lesbian friend R.C. (Lynn Collins), both of them working as waitress at local bar. R.C. introduces Agnes to the mysterious, reticent guy Peter Evans (Michael Shannon). 


Agnes merely exists in the daze of booze and drugs. Her emotional bruises are so deep to be immediately solved by newfound love. However, she is empathetic towards the fellow loner, Peter. He seems sensitive compared to her violent husband. But there’s also a feeling that Peter is hiding something or there’s something not quite right with him. Irrespective of his slightly balmy nature, Agnes falls for him and gradually gets drawn into his sickeningly scary delusional world-view. What follows is a delirious examination of the demented psyche. 



Bug certainly boasts Friedkin’s weirdest and disturbing visuals. He fascinatingly plays up the character’s inner state through seemingly random elements, like an empty shopping cart or bag of onions, whose depth of meaning is revealed later. Although set mostly inside a single room, Friedkin’s impressive craft fittingly employs sound, light, and color to hint at the character’s dimensions. He subjugates the typical theatrical feeling by building the character with economic yet precise visual details. The narrative mostly evokes subjective viewpoint (for eg, the ominous buzz of smoke alarm or sound of helicopter blades). 


While the director allows us to understand & immerse ourselves in the duo’s isolation and sadness, he keeps us at distance when displaying their deranged conviction. The most interesting interlude of Friedkin’s direction is the montage sequence of sexual intimacy between Agnes and Peter. The camera repeatedly lingers over their bodies, and more than suggesting passion, it stages the intercourse as a form of hazardous infestation. From then on, the visuals get increasingly wacky and further enlivened by torrential performances (the ‘teeth-pulling’ scene is a testament to Friedkin’s visceral power).   




Ashley Judd delivers her best and most complex performance in the role of Agnes. She effortlessly brings out the character’s vulnerability and warmth. That crazy monologue towards the end, delivered in the form of a wail, got to be one of the unforgettable rants in cinema. Michael Shannon astoundingly reprises the role he played on the stage. By the time he played Peter Evans, Shannon was in cinema for more than a decade. His towering performance in Bug served as prelude to his biggest breakthrough roles in Jeff Nicols’ movies (Shotgun Stories & Take Shelter). Shannon’s portrayal of madness avoids hamminess. He makes Peter dangerously odd and at the same time, an endearing figure.


Not everything in Bug is perfectly convincing. Agnes’ sudden transition or downward spiral (irrespective of her depressed nature) feels a bit rushed-out. Friedkin takes good time to set up her character, only to make us witness her rapid disintegration in Peter’s acidic delusions. But essentially, the movie stays raw and disconcerting till the end; its preposterous elements are somewhat acceptable. There’s poignance in Agnes and Peter’s utmost degradation, since it is rooted in their loneliness. And, the true horror in Bug doesn’t just lie in physical self-mutilation or pyrotechnics, but in depicting how two lost souls could find true love and yet descend into the chasms of hell. 


Le Corbeau [1943] – A Decidedly Bleak Picture on Human Duplicity and Frailties


Henri Georges Clouzot’s Occupation-era film, Le Corbeau (The Raven, 1943) although regarded as a masterpiece in the later decades, attracted lot of controversies in the immediate post-war period. Based on the scenario written by Louis Chavance, Le Corbeau is set in a small provincial French town isolated from the outside world. A climate of suspicion, paranoia, and denunciation plagues this town when a mysterious ‘poison-pen’ letter-writer starts a campaign of malicious finger-pointing. The narrative was based on a real event that happened in a small Southern France town (Tulle) between 1917 and 1922 (110 letters were anonymously sent). What sparked the controversy is the film’s allegorical treatment of the realities during the Nazi Occupation by portraying a community that’s about to implode and by focusing on a squalid bourgeoisie class. The scandal surrounding the film also included its depiction of illegal abortion and female sexuality.


After the fall of Vichy government in August 1944, Clouzot stood before Comite de Liberation du Cinema Francais (CLCF), which was formed to judge the film productions made during the Occupation. Mr. Clouzot was accused of directing a pro-Nazi anti-French movie (Jean-Paul Sartre, Marcel Carne, and Jean Cocteau came to Clouzot’s defense). In 1945, the director was condemned with a life-time ban, but a year later the sentence was reduced to two years (Clouzot returned to film-making in 1947). Clouzot continued to amalgamate suspense with atmosphere of horror in his later, much-heralded works including Wages of Fear (1953) and Les Diaboliques (1955).  


Le Corbeau

Clouzot who did his film apprenticeship in Germany was inspired by the expressionist techniques of silent-era masters, F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang. He mostly made his films – psychological thrillers tinged with horror – in black-and-white to retain the expressionist effects. Apart from the technical brilliance found in his films and the smooth flow of the narrative, Clouzot’s works are appreciated for the distant and neutral filmic gaze. The film-maker’s characters are pretty much flawed. But he offers an acute portrait of a society in which these characters live that it’s hard for us to direct a simple moralizing gaze at them.


Clouzot opens Le Corbeau by displaying a montage of grand Gothic buildings whose shadows are dispersed over the small-town, allowing only occasional bursts of sunlight (obviously a metaphorical representation of dark secrets and dishonesty). Such meticulous attention to mise-en-scene is followed by establishing the primary townspeople characters and their interpersonal relationships. The townspeople are haunted by ‘poison-pen’ letters sent to few chosen victims by someone signing ‘Raven’, revealing their alleged sexual indiscretions and long-held secrets. Instead of coming together to confront the menace of Raven (the town’s Id), the townspeople spread the web of gossip and use this as a campaign to root out ‘undesirable’ elements.


The Raven’s chief target happens to be Dr. Remy Germain (Pierre Fresnay), a prim gynecologist accused of being a abortionist and conducting an affair with his hospital supervisor’s young wife, Laura (Micheline Francey). The hospital supervisor, Dr. Vorzet (Pierre Larquey) is a psychologist and observes Raven’s accusations with an air of amusement. Dr. Vorzet also shares with his colleague Germain about his theories on who could be Raven and what propels him/her to do this. Much of the narrative spends time raising suspicion on its large cast of characters. The suspicion initially falls upon the hospital’s unlikable, remorseless head-nurse Marie Corbin (Helena Manson), Laura’s elder sister. When one of the terminal patients commits suicide after receiving a poison-pen letter the whole town decries against Ms. Corbin. Just when the people breathe a sigh of relief after Corbin’s arrest, the letters keep appearing, again squarely targeting Dr. Germain’s reputation. Finally, the chief suspects are rounded-up and are forced to take dictation (written in all-capital-letters like Raven’s letters).


The Raven

Dr. Germain is an interesting choice for a protagonist, a man partly ignoble in his attitude that we don’t have much compassion to spare for him. Although the doctor’s tragic past provides us some answer to his cryptic behavior. Emotionally he is a very cold person, particularly the way he treats and perpetually judges Denise (Ginette Leclerc) – the object of his dispassionate love affair. The girl however is not fatally punished for her carnality, and in fact she is the most sympathetic character in the narrative. Germain’s misanthropy and utter disregard for others feelings is often pitted against the darkly humorous lectures of Dr. Vorzet.


In one of the film’s most acclaimed scene, Dr. Vorzet takes on the dichotomies existing in the society – light/dark, good/evil, guilt/innocence – by swinging a light bulb. To the uptight Germain, he argues how the boundaries of morality keep shifting (inside a individual or within a pressurized society). Despite such a unflinching portrayal of human pettiness, Le Corbeau takes a misstep by going for a neatly-packaged resolution. Clouzot definitely concocts supremely chilling shots for the denouement, yet the film’s ambiguous qualities are cast aside by a Hollywood-style ending. 




Wait Until Dark [1967] – A Classic Suspense Thriller

Frederic Knott’s 1966 Broadway play Wait Until Dark is anything but contrived. The same could be said about the 1967 adaptation by Terrence Young. But it also happens to be one of the tensest thrillers ever made on-screen with charming and vulnerable-looking Audrey Hepburn playing a blind woman who is terrorized by trio of crooks. In fact, the meticulous direction and tight plotting makes the gimmick or contrivance part of the movie’s charm. Mr. Roger Ebert referred to the story-line as ‘idiot plot’, although he gave it a thumbs-up review and called it ‘a superior film’. There might be a sensible and easy solution to the problem encountered by Audrey’s character. Furthermore, even the chain of events involving the ‘doll’ seems overwrought. Yet the overall superiority of mood and atmosphere, which is largely set inside a frigid, claustrophobic one-bedroom apartment, makes Wait Until Dark a relentlessly intriguing cinematic piece.


Wait Until Dark

When Alan Arkin was asked if he thought his role of suave villian in Wait Until Dark was overlooked for the Oscars, he quipped, “You don't get nominated for being mean to Audrey Hepburn!” As a matter of fact, the producer (also Hepburn’s husband at the time) Mel Ferrer and director Terrence Young knew that there’s nothing more terrifying for audiences of the era to see Audrey Hepburn (and that too visually-impaired!) being terrorized. The basic plot has some Hitchcokian feel to it. It starts with heroin sewed into a fancy doll, which is taken over by a dolled up woman so that it can be smuggled from Montreal to New York.  While getting off the plane, the courier woman sees a man she doesn’t want to see, and discreetly hands over the doll to an unsuspecting photographer Sam Hendrix (Efram Zimbalist Jr.). The reason the woman gives the photographer, which is revealed later, is just one of the many strained plot elements. Not knowing what’s within the doll Sam takes it to his basement apartment he shares with recently blinded wife, Susy Hendrix (Hepburn). 


Meanwhile, a shady, sun-glass wearing urban hipster criminal known as Mr. Roat (Alan Arkin) employs an detailed set-up to blackmail two con-men, Mike Talman (Richard Crenna) and Carlino (Jack Weston) to get the doll back. Susy is a determined woman who wants to take care of herself and be the the world’s champion blind lady’. She tries to handle most of her chores, although there’s also sprightly, misbehaving pre-teen neighbor girl Gloria (Julie Herrod) to do grocery shopping now and then. Sam briefly talks to Susy about the doll he misplaced somewhere within the apartment, before he is called away on business trip. After Sam’s depature, the three villains conceive an elaborate plot to make their way into Susy’s apartment and to locate the stuffed doll. Initially, their crafty plan is devoid of bullying or violent threats. Their con game puts psychological pressure upon Susy, gradually imprinting within her mind that the only way to help herself and Sam is to find the doll. Nevertheless, once Susy recovers from her mild panic and after putting her sharp hearing and reasoning skills to work, she partly works out the disguise. It all leads to more superb, suspense set-pieces.

Alan Arkin

Wait Until Dark mostly works due to director Young’s deft presentation of the sequestered surroundings, which easily overcomes the weaknesses in the plot. Aided by Henry Mancini’s brilliant score, Young impeccably stages the slow descent into chaos without an iota of visual tedium. Early in the film, Suzy bumps into a chair and loses her balance. It seems to forebode the copious amount of disarray coming her way, which eventually invades into nook and corner of the tight space. The dramatic construction in the narrative extracts suspense pretty much from the skilful arrangement of the players. Young also makes good use of Suzy’s blindness (a key element to the film’s suspense), not just in the terrifying lights-out climax showdown, but also in the scenes when the three con-men cunningly play up on Suzy’s fears. The camera closely watches Hepburn’s face as her expressions seems to relentlessly scrutinize the plausibilities of their story (as always Hepburn in close-ups glistens with a soft luster). These sequences where Suzy gets expertly manipulated lends huge emotional weight to the proceedings, and Audrey Hepburn with her trademark blended expression of frailty, self-pity, feistiness and tenderness made me forget the utter irrationalities in the plot. 


The final confrontation must be a study in concocting suspense within very limited space. Throughout the narrative, we get acquainted with the confined habitat so as to know where every item is. Hence when the lights go out, we too feel the entrapment and feeling totally helpless. Suzy’s restored pluckiness and Roat’s coolheadedness tussle with each other, while the atmosphere is plunged into darkness and viewers are left to interpret noises and unsure of what the next spark of light would reveal; the moment Roat coolly lights a match and Suzy threatens with the gasoline can is absolutely cheerworthy.  The casually malevolent Roat showcases sheer joy in tormenting the blind woman, which makes her final solid stance all the more entertaining. Though the script written by Robert Howard-Carrington & Jane Howard-Hammerstein keeps intact the play’s far-fetched elements, they push the limited plot moving ahead, often deflecting our attention from the very thin story. The home-invasion sub-genre was later vitalized as well as boringly familiarized by Italian ‘Giallo’ movies (replete with visual panace), Hollywood slasher thrillers, etc. But rarely we could come across a unique cinematic work that divulges effective shock and nail-biting tension without a spill of blood like in Wait Until Dark.


P.S. ‘Hush’ (more like an effective modern update) and ‘Don’t Breathe’ (a fascinating inverted scenario) offered intriguing takes on the aforementioned movie’s basic premise.