Movies In Focus was hugely impressed by director Jill Gervargizian’s short film, The Stylist when I first saw it back in 2016. It was a a highly effective short, filled with dark humour, impressive visuals and strong production design. Lasting just under 15 minutes, the quirky thriller featured a wonderfully nuanced performance from Najarra Townsend as the killer hairstylist.
Now Gervargizian has expanded the short into a feature and it once again sees Townsend play Claire, the lonely hairdresser obsessed with the lives of her clients – with killer results. This time around Brea Grant‘s stressed bride-to-be is the central fixation of Claire’s ill-judged attention.
Keeping the same brilliant tone and visual style of the short, The Stylist expands on Gervargizian’s original story and shows us much more of Claire’s life and her motivations. It’s a fascinating character study and Najarra Townsend excels as she shows us a stunning range of emotions. It’s a complicated role and Townsend ensures that we empathise with the character even when she’s doing very bad things.
Richly layered and brilliantly characterised, The Stylist is a wonderful off-beat horror film. It once again shows that Jill Gervargizian is a strong and unique voice in genre filmmaking.