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Welcome to the Blumhouse: The Lie/Black Box review – subtle scares

The horror hit factory creeps on to streaming platform Amazon with two studies in psychological unsettlement

Blumhouse, the production outfit founded by Jason Blum, struck it big with unquiet souls terrorising American domesticity in Paranormal Activity – and not much has changed 11 years later, as the company launches Welcome to the Blumhouse, a diffusion line of eight thrillers in collaboration with Amazon Studios. (Four are released this year, four in 2021.) Here, the unquiet souls are the domestic inhabitants themselves – at least that’s the case in these first two films, which slot more into the psychological thriller category than the pure horror the studio is known for.

Veena Sud (showrunner of the US remake of The Killing) offers an accomplished helicopter-parenting noir in The Lie (★★★★☆) – though what beleaguered divorcees Mireille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard engage in when trying to shield their daughter (Joey King) after she murders a schoolmate is probably better described as Black Hawk Down parenting. Sud – with plenty of inexorable tracking shots through the family’s chilly condo – efficiently tightens the screw as the twitchy mother and indulgent father first bicker, then are doomed together by their blood allegiances.

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