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Little Games

average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Nov 4, 2023

Film Reviews
Little Games
Directed by:
Stefane Houssier
Written by:
Stefane Houssier, Nicholas Penrake, Jane McLaughlin
Hannah Arterton, Vita Bennett, Samantha Coughlan, Michael Matus

A little girl reveals her sinister plan to a stranger who tries to prevent it.


In an attempt to get away from an abusive relationship, Natasha (Arterton) has arrived to a manor house hotel. While there, she notices a young girl named Amelia (Bennett), who is staying at the same hotel with her parents. It is not long before Amelia approaches her and discreetly tells her that she and her father (Matus) are planning to kill her mother (Coughlan). Disturbed and alarmed by those words, Natasha becomes determined to find out if it is true and if so, to save the unfortunate woman's life.


Suspense is arguably the best aspect of this short drama thriller, as it has so much of it in its twelve-minute duration. The narrative begins as a drama about domestic violence and escape and once Amelia's intentions are known, things turn into a thriller whose formula contains conspiracy to commit murder, an evil child and a race against the clock to save a life. Following the terrible revelation, Brave and selfless Natasha proceeds observe the family as they wonder around the hotel and attempts to warn the girl's unsuspecting mother. Will the woman be saved? What if it is all just a sick joke though? The well-structured screenplay keeps the viewer guessing right until the dramatic plot twist at the end.


Samantha makes an interesting protagonist, a young woman who has been through very difficult times while living with a violent partner (and has the bruises to show for it) and is looking for a fresh start. She goes through significant character development as she starts playing detective, trying to find out the truth and she is played terrifically by Arterton. Amelia pretty much serves as the antagonist and her character is certainly intriguing. Bennett's convincing performance makes her come across as intelligent, manipulative and menacing and considering that this character is so young, such features make her quite a memorable character. Regarding her father, he appears to be a normal guy, not indicating that he has murderous intentions.


Based on the short story Trio for Four Voices by Jane McLaughlin, this film manages to create a story with suspense on a level that could be compared to a Hitchcock picture, which is impressive considering the duration. It also works as a commentary about domestic violence and the idea that people are not always what they seem to be. The interesting plot and suspenseful atmosphere are supported by Frank Ilfman's ominous music and by Lily Grimes's cinematography and of course by the strong acting. This is a great thriller that revolves around the concept of is-something-bad-really-going-to-happen? and the result is rather effective.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Short Film
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