Call me weird, but I am a crazy fan of a good horror/thriller movie. And with Halloween just around the corner, all OTT platforms are trying to put up a good show. But lately, all we have been getting in the name of horror are stirred-up bedtime stories to put a child to sleep. However, when I saw Rebecca‘s trailer, I promised myself to add it to my Halloween watchlist, only because the visuals were striking and it looked really promising. Based on the novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, a tale of betrayal, sex, and murder, my expectations for this movie were pretty high. But did it over promise and under deliver? Read this review of Rebecca, Netflix’s latest romance thriller to find out.
The chilling Manderley Mansion and stunning Monte Carlo
“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. I dreamt that where our drive once lay, a dark and tortured jungle grew. Nature had come into her own and yet the house still stood. Manderley. Secretive and silent as it had always been. Risen from the dead.”
The opening lines were accompanied by a chilling visual of the Manderley Mansion standing tall amidst the rising flame, eerie jungle, and the crashing waves. This instantly gave me Hill House and Bly Manor vibes, and I was totally rooting for this film. But, as soon as the nameless heroine of Rebecca wakes up from the frightening dream, the story shifts to a gorgeous hotel in Monte Carlo.
The young, naive, and utterly gorgeous Lily James is a lady’s companion who flusters to find a seat for Mrs. Van Hopper for lunch. And even though the job didn’t pay much, she was thankful for it as she didn’t have any family to support her. While Mrs. Hooper spent the lunches gossiping with the ladies and talking ill about people, she spent her time sketching. On one such afternoon, she comes across a handsome, tall, and extremely wealthy widower and the owner of the Manderley Mansion, Maxim de Winter.
An exhilarating love affair and a hasty marriage
When Maxim finds himself intrigued by this young lady, he asks her out for a drive without any hesitation. What follows next are lavish lunches, strolls by the gardens, and lounging on beaches. She falls in love almost instantly, and things don’t seem bleak in her life for the first time. When Maxim proposes to her, she agrees as that seems to be the perfect escape from her thankless job. But what she doesn’t realise is that her life isn’t going to be all romantic and sunny for long. Because Manderley is full of secrets and a darkness for which she wasn’t prepared.
As she prepares to fill the shoes of Mrs. de Winter and approach Manderley, things start to seem a little unsettling. The cold, dark vibe of the mansion and the staff, especially Mrs. Danvers, the head housekeeper, put her off. The mansion reeks of secrets, and she is kept away from the west wing which was previously occupied by Rebecca, the former Mrs. de Winters.
Ugly secrets and evil setups
Pretty soon, Mrs. de Winters finds herself feeling like an outsider in Manderley. With continuous changes in Maxim’s behaviour and evil schemes by the brooding and wicked Mrs. Danvers, she tries to unfurl the secrets surrounding Rebecca, the gorgeous lady of the house who died by drowning and who seems to still have everything wrapped around her finger.
Although the original storyline sounded way more intense, the Netflix movie lacked depth and passion. With almost flat intimacy and scare scenes, this film did not do justice to an epic story. What could have been the perfect, subtle thriller with stunning visuals, Rebecca came nowhere close to becoming my favourite Halloween scare.
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