The Mistress (2022) poster

The Mistress (2022)


USA. 2022.


Director/Screenplay – Greg Pritkin, Producers – Gil Karakiz, Rob Paris & Mike Witherill, Photography – Antonio Riestra, Music – Arturo Rodriguez, Visual Effects – Mr. Wolf (Supervisor – Danny Yoon), Production Design – Alexis Johnson. Production Company – Paris Film, Inc..


John Magario (Parker Brooks), Chasten Harmon (Madeline), Kat Cunning (Dawn Spooner), Aylya Marzolf (Rebecca), Rae Dawn Chong (Evelyn), James Carpinello (Davey), Alexandra Grey (Janine), Paul Shackman (Rob), Tina D’Marco (Frieda Richmond)


Newlyweds Parker and Madeline buy a house together in Los Angeles. During a housewarming party, they discover a hidden cache of letters written by Rebecca, a woman who lived there a hundred years earlier. In reading the letters, they realise that Rebecca was having an affair with the married Robert, which ended with her killing herself. Parker then starts to see what he thinks is Rebecca’s ghost around the house. He just as equally fears it could be a former ex who had to be committed for stalking him. The ghost then starts to attack visitors, including killing the flirtatious neighbour Dawn.

The Mistress was the fifth film for director Greg Pritkin. All of Pritkin’s previous work had been in comedy with the likes of Totally Confused (1998), Dummy (2002), Surviving Eden (2004) and The Last Laugh (2019). This was his first venture into genre material.

These days the Haunted House genre consists of large body of extremely familiar material. In fact, the genre has been overrun by near-identical copycats all mining the same tropes to the extent that I dread having to watch yet another variant. As it sets in, it appears that The Mistress is heading down the same path, exploring the same familiar plot devices – the ghost from the past, the spouse who sees something but is doubted by the other party, the element of The Ambiguously Fantastic about the appearances.

John Magario and Kat Canning in The Mistress (2022)
John Magario faces the temptations of Kat Canning

That said, Greg Pirtkin and his cast have an intent belief in the material and give it their all. Soon the film pivots away from merely rehashing the standard tropes and develops its own story. It becomes very much a character-driven story as opposed to one where there are jumpscares at regular, almost timed intervals. In particular, things take a turn for the darker when the ghost murders neighbour Kat Cunning and husband John Magario is left having to dispose of the body.

Where The Mistress works quite well is when it arrives at an undeniably effective Conceptual Reversal Twist ending of the first M. Night Shyamalan-esque order. [PLOT SPOILERS] Here we learn that there are no ghosts at all, that John Magario is a former mental patient and that he has been fabricating the entire ghost story as part of his delusion.

Trailer here

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