It was only recently that I finally managed to watch the brilliant Boiling Point and now director Philip Barantini follows that up with Accused, a psychological thriller that proved to be even more terrifying than any horror I’ve seen so far this year.
We meet Harri (Chaneil Kular) as he says goodbye to his girlfriend Chloe (Lauryn Ajufo), leaving her in bed in his London flat as he heads to the train station. Harri is off to his parent’s house in the countryside where he will be dogsitting for them while they jet off on holiday. At the station, he passes a man on the escalator wearing similar clothing but naturally doesn’t give it a second thought. He’s also unwittingly caught on camera while two teenage girls are taking a Snapchat selfie and even encounters some racism from the elderly woman he sits next to on a platform bench.
While on the train and heading out of London, everyone in the carriage with Harri starts getting alerts and notifications on their phones. When Harri checks his phone he sees the news that a bomb has gone off at the London station that his train departed from. Everyone immediately begins calling or messaging their loved ones to let them know they’re safe.
After a meal and some quality time with his parents, they head to the airport leaving Harri alone with Flynn, the family dog. The news is obviously dominated by updates on the London bombing and a CCTV photo has been released showing a person of interest to the police. Wearing a cap and sporting a beard similar to Harri’s, the likeness is amusingly uncanny to Harri and he decides to leave his laptop turned on so that he can follow the hashtag #LondonBombing on social media while he watches a movie on the TV.
While Harri’s attention is focused on the TV we get to see the outpouring of rage frantically unfolding online. And then somebody mentions that they recognise the guy from the CCTV photo and moments later a photo of Harri is posted that’s been taken from his social media accounts. It’s not too long before the photo catches Harri’s eye and as he jumps onto his laptop the screen starts filling with more posts and different photos of him, mostly accompanied by disgusting racist comments and even death threats. His friend requests and notifications go nuts and things suddenly get very intense and very unsettling. I held my breath, and I didn’t feel like I let it go until the end of the movie.
The fact that we stick with Harri in such a lonely, remote location, feeling the panic and terror along with him as things quickly spiral out of control, is what makes Accused such a brilliant watch. We are constantly cutting to scenes of anonymous trolls as they type out their opinions and threats, all in the name of cleansing Britain and making it great again, whipping the internet up into a frenzy in the process. Things get increasingly worse, particularly when not only is the address of Harri’s London flat revealed online, but also the address of his parent’s house. Everything feels so grounded in reality. And it is truly terrifying.
Accused is definitely best enjoyed having not seen the full trailer, which I do feel gives away far too many plot beats and detracts somewhat from the intensity felt from being alone with Harri, not knowing what will come next. Also, it’s a little disappointing that two phone calls to the police from a suspected terrorist who’s even giving you his location still doesn’t get them out to investigate. Still, I guess that’s broken Britain for you.
Accused is available on Netflix from 22 September
Where to Watch
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.