'Rebecca' will leave people completely cold and unmoved
The latest version of 'Rebecca' in no way compares to the novel version, which has made a mockery of one of the best gothic horror novels ever written. Not because it is ghastly, but because it leaves people completely cold and unmoved.
When the audience will first come upon Lily James, she can be seen in a luxury resort in Monaco as a dutiful companion to a horrid, overbearing dowager. Somehow, the unassuming young woman manages to catch the eye of the dishy Maxim de Winter (Hammer), who lounges about on the sunny terrace. The two are swept up in a languorous romance and before one knows it, she goes home with him to one of the stateliest mansions in Cornwall, where she encounters the formidable Mrs Danvers (Thomas), who lords over a phalanx of liveried staff and over everything else that goes on at Manderley.
Soon, the new Mrs de Winter learns that in every shadowy nook of Manderley, there are memories of Rebecca, the first Mrs de Winter.
The only thing that stands out is the atmosphere that the film manages to create occasionally.
Lily James is adequate, but she is never able to channel the bone-chilling terror that suffused the novel, or even the black and white starkness of Hitchcock's 1940 film with same name. The clean-cut, handsome Hammer is all wrong for Maxim de Winter: when he tells the shy companion, 'I want to marry you, you little fool,' it sounds wrong. The only one who internalises the vibe of the period and is suitably menacing is Thomas, but even she cannot rescue the film..