My personal space is very important to me, and I invoke this personal space bubble when people make me feel uncomfortable. But never have I ever felt that bubble *POP* the way it did while I was watching this film.
Note: This review contains many spoilers for the film.
Freehold made me feel every bit as uncomfortable as any one person should feel knowing someone is utilizing your personal effects. The only difference is the character did not know! No matter how many times I yelled at him not to use that or don’t eat that, he completely ignored me and did so despite my pleas against it. As a viewer of Freehold, you are captivated and disgusted as well as held prisoner by what you see on the screen. It is utterly engrossing and disgusting at the same time.
This film, also known as Two Pigeons, is directed by Dominic Bridges and stars Mim Shaikh as Hussein a real estate agent who lives in an apartment briefly with his girlfriend Mel, played by Mandeep Dhillon. I say that because not long after she moves in, Orlan, the unknown guest played by Javier Botet, begins to shatter the already rocky relationship the two endure.
Every morning Hussein readies himself for work using the same routine day in and day out. Orlan performs his shortly after Hussein disappears for work. The only difference is that once you realize whats going on, a sickness will well up in your bowels. At first, when Orlan appears, you think maybe he’s being held captive or something insane like that (I did). But boy was I wrong!
Seeing this tall, frail man emerge from Hussein’s bedroom with nothing on, except a dirty pair of tighty whities made my eyeballs want to vomit. But for some reason, I could not look away. As I continue to watch Orlan go about his routine, I begin to realize that something strange is at play here.
Freehold – Photo: Precision Pictures
Sowing Discord and Confusion
Aside from using Hussein’s toothbrush, hygiene products and re-using old teabags. Orlan also cleanses himself with Hussein’s bath towel which is an unsightly scene to behold. What’s even worse is thinking if someone had ever done that to you. (shudders)
Orlan does what he can to subtlely make Hussein and Mel miserable. Either by changing dates on important notes or alarms, unplugging cellphones, or putting gay porn on Mel’s laptop to make it seem as though Hussein did it. I mean Orlan goes out of his way to make Hussein look every bit the misogynistic butt hole he pretends to be, with success.
Throughout the film, Orlan interacts with two pigeons that hang outside the apartment window. He feeds them and even lets them in on occasion to do what they do while Hussein is at work. You will notice a dialogue that’s happening which appears to focus on the pigeons as though they were talking to one another. But in actuality, it is Orlan reliving a bad experience. Probably the same experience that leads him to live in Hussein’s closet. But this is not revealed until the end of the film. You’ll have to watch the film to see what happens.
This was not a traditional horror film. But watching what he does to Hussein to exact revenge and the lengths he would and did go to achieve them, is horrifying. And with that, I check my closet quite often. Just to make sure somebody I may have ticked off isn’t plotting against me. Am I paranoid, no, just….cautious? Auf Wiedersehen.