When a gloomy, God-fearing island community is rocked by the murder of a young child, a psychologist is called in to examine Dorothy Mills, the teenager accused of the crime. Despite the villagers' resistance, the therapist soon suspects that Dorothy suffers from multiple personality disorder. But when the girl speaks in the voice of the woman's own deceased son, what first seemed like madness may - as the locals believe - be Dorothy channeling the dead. A spine-chilling blend of psychological thriller and gothic terror, Dorothy Mills is eerie, suspenseful and truly frightening.
Though compared to The Exorcist
because of teenager Dorothy Mills’ (Jenn Murray) tendency towards possession, this psychological thriller feels much closer to a combination of Don’t Look Now
, and The Wicker Man
, both of which are better than Dorothy Mills
. Though a gorgeous setting (an island off mainland Ireland) does lend the film clammy ambiance, for the most part there is little surprise or suspense. The saving grace of Dorothy Mills
is actor Carice Van Houten’s portrayal of Jane, a traumatized Dublin psychiatrist assigned to the case of a teen who allegedly strangled a baby while babysitting. The second she ferries out to a creepy island populated by evangelical, semi-pagan zealots, Jane begins to experience what it means to be an outsider accidentally privy to some dark secrets exposed surrounding Mills’ mysterious case. Jane, who champions Mills as an unfortunate victim of schizophrenia, relives her own psychological battles through this young girl. Lame depictions of antics enacted by rebellious locals do a disservice to the true story here, which concerns the psychic bond between two females. Like Don’t Look Now
, a sense of disorientation is created by Jane’s foreign locale, to this film’s credit, and her memories of loss do register as real tragedy as did Julie Christie’s in what was, perhaps, the best film ever made about parents processing the loss of their children. Director Agnes Merlet also did a service to Mills’ character in casting Murray, whose white hair and pallid complexion look ghostly enough to create some spook. But the story is just not that compelling. The details of Mills’ psychosis are explained away in a clichéd manner, leaving little for the viewer to wonder about in this supposedly supernatural tale. --Trinie Dalton