"This city is going to eat you alive," Erica (Maika Monroe) tells her roommate Frances (Chloe Grace Moretz) at the beginning of Greta, the new psychological thriller from director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game). It's a good example of the poorly written dialogue in this ill-conceived movie, and Erica basically telegraphs the horrors to come in this preposterous film that's destined to make a quick exit from theaters. It opens area-wide on Friday.
The flimsy premise is this: Frances decides to return a purse she found on the subway to its rightful owner, a woman named Greta (Isabelle Huppert). Since she found the woman's address on her driver's license, she's easy enough to track down. Extremely grateful, Greta invites Frances in for coffee when she arrives at her home. Frances likes the matronly French woman who plays the piano for her and speaks fondly of her own daughter, a pianist who has moved to Paris. The woman is clearly lonely. Frances has lost her mother and sees Greta as someone who can help fill that void.
A friendship blossoms, and Frances helps Greta adopt a dog and stops by for dinner too. All is well and good until Frances discovers a stash of purses and realizes Greta employs the trick to befriend young women. She subsequently distances herself from the woman, but ditching her proves to be rather difficult. Greta begins stalking Frances, showing up outside the restaurant where she works and calling her cell phone constantly.
It's only a matter of time before things escalate, and the film's second half resorts to horror cliches as Greta reveals herself to be a real psycho. Huppert plays the part perfectly, but this artfully crafted film is too flawed for even a veteran actress of Huppert's caliber to redeem.