Movie Review: Zebra Girl (A Night of Horror International Film Festival)

October 14, 2022

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at [email protected] He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

U.K. mystery thriller Zebra Girl (2021) is rich with slowly unfolding shocks and surprises, and is the kind of film that is difficult to discuss much in a review for concern of giving too much away for future viewers. Director Stephanie Zari’s chilling film is ultimately a character study of a highly troubled woman dealing with the emotional and psychological aftermath of having gone through horrifying events when she was younger, and how it affects her as an adult.

Catherine (Sarah Roy) and English professor Dan (Tom Cullen) meet online and then in-person for a first date, during which she makes a startling confession and then asks Dan to do the same. Hers is far darker than his, but she later finds out that he was hiding a secret from her worse than the one he had originally told her. After they marry and she becomes pregnant, Dan’s secret threatens to drive Catherine to drastic measures. She calls her estranged former best friend Anita (Jade Anouka), who she hasn’t seen in five years, for help in a very messy situation.

My synopsis doesn’t do justice to what happens in Zebra Girl because viewers should go in as cold as possible. Zari — who cowrote the screenplay with Roy, based on the play by Derek Ahonen — wrings loads of emotion from the story, its characters, and her cast members while serving up occasional gruesome gore and no shortage of emotional jolts. 

Told in nonlinear fashion as memories take hold throughout the film, Zebra Girl is a jarring experience. Boasting a superb performance by Roy and assured direction by Zari, it delivers no shortage of emotional gut punches and startling revelations.

 

 

Zebra Girl screens as part of A Night of Horror International Film Festival, which takes place at Dendy Cinemas Newtown, Sydney, Australia, from October 17th until October 23rd, 2022. For more information, visit https://www.anightofhorror.com.

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