Based on true events from 1950's New Zealand, where Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme met as schoolgirls and instantly became best friends. They created a fantasy world together, gradually shutting out the real world. When Parker's mother attempted to separate them, they murdered her.
Kate Winslet received all the praise for her striking performance in this true story of a pair of fantasist girls who kill the mother of one of the two, but in hindsight it's now more noticeable as the film that marked Peter Jackson as a director capable of more than gleefully daft horror.
Jackson holds the film in an almost permanent dreamlike state so that the girls' plotting of their horrible crime seems like just another part of the fantasy world they create to distract themselves, making the final scenes all the more shocking. The effects are impressive, and a fine example of style not overwhelming substance. While most true murder stories are relegated to movie of the week fodder, this never wastes a moment in justifying its big screen presence.
Taut, clever, and fronted with two excellent performances, this is a clever choice for Jackson's first step into mainstream filmmaking.
Reviewed by Olly Richards