*** out of four
Krisha is a stark and unsettling psychological family drama in the vein of such Ingmar Bergman pictures like Autumn Sonata and Cries and Whispers. This is the directorial debut for writer/director Trey Edward Shults and it's intense with an ominous tone that makes it feel one step away from a slasher film.
The film centers around black sheep and recovering addict Krisha (Krisha Fairchild, the director's aunt) attending her family's Thanksgiving celebration after a 10-year absence from their lives. Shults plays the grown son whom she abandoned all those years ago.
The director subtly plays with the film's aspect ratio. Generally, it's shot in the standard 1:85, but changes with the inner feelings of the main character – 2:35 widescreen in one scene of utter euphoria, and the box-like 1:33 when Krisha's demons close in on her. A weird music score by Brian McOmber also helps to effectively keep us off balance.
This is a strong feature debut from Shults, even if it is the feel bad holiday film of the year.