The Little Stranger (2018)


Critic Consensus: The Little Stranger's reliance on atmosphere may satisfy audiences in the mood for sophisticated horror fare -- while frustrating those seeking more visceral thrills.


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THE LITTLE STRANGER tells the story of Dr Faraday, the son of a housemaid, who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. During the long hot summer of 1948, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked. The Hall has been home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries. But it is now in decline and its inhabitants - mother, son and daughter - are haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life. When he takes on his new patient, Faraday has no idea how closely, and how disturbingly, the family's story is about to become entwined with his own

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Critic Reviews for The Little Stranger

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (24)

Occasionally spooky, but more often snoozy.

Sep 6, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

A hypnotic and haunting tale of how the past can grab hold of the flesh-and-blood present and squeeze. Don't let this mesmerizing mystery slip between the cracks of studio neglect and marketing indifference. It's spellbinding.

Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Everything here is precise: Abrahamson's direction, the understated performances, the intrusive sounds that stop just shy of jarring. The result is more sad and spooky than suspenseful or scary, an effect that seems entirely, and pleasingly, intentional.

Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

At times, each of the main characters has us wondering what's going on beneath the surface. Who, if anyone, is to be trusted?

Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

[An] elegant, cold-to-the-touch blend of drama and gothic horror.

Aug 31, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Abrahamson seems fascinated with the idea of gothic storytelling, but he hasn't quite got the knack of it.

Aug 31, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Little Stranger


Domhnall Gleeson needs a Sydney Fife-level jerk-off station.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

The Gothic anti-horror isn't the problem, its that no one seems to have quite figured out what the point of all this misery is supposed to be.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer


If you're a fan of slow burning Gothic horror, the kind where characters wander slowly inside ornate and empty houses investigating various noises, then The Little Stranger is the movie for you. It's about a laconic doctor (Domhnall Gleeson) inserting himself in the lives of a wealthy family who has fallen on hard times, their once glorious estate left to wither in post-WWII Britain. The family is convinced the spirit of a dead little girl haunts their estate and has its ghostly sights set on destroying the last vestiges of their bloodline. It's a ghost story by design but the supernatural elements get placed on pause for long stretches. The rest of the movie is a restrained romance between the doctor and the introverted and awkward lady of the house, played by Ruth Wilson (TV's The Affair). In reality, the doctor is more infatuated with the house than the people inside, fondly recalling his early obsession from childhood. It's easy to see why. The house, and its exquisite production design, is enchanting. At points it feels like the movie has to remember that it's a ghost story or a mystery as it shifts narrative tracks. The Little Stranger is a movie simmering in eerie atmosphere and is pristinely directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Room), a man proving how readily he can adapt his artistic style. For a good hour, I was on board with the movie and enjoyed its patient, controlled buildup. It's practically the opposite of the more visceral horror set pieces we've become accustomed to. By the end, I was unsure whether the somewhat ambiguous ending justified the time and path taken to get there. If you don't have a healthy love of Poe-styled Gothic horror, you'll likely be restless as you watch understated, refined, restrained British family going through understated, refined, restrained drama. Nate's Grade: C+

Nate Zoebl
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

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