Mollie Binkley writes and directs Occupied (2011) a psychological thriller about a young woman Sarah (Liza Binkley) who goes to babysit her cousin Charlotte (Lucy Bock) in her home in the countryside while her father is away on business. This would be the perfect vacation except Sarah is suffering from some emotional trauma that threatens her from the inside out.
Sarah’s relationship with the young and precocious Charlotte is the stuff of BFFs even if it has been many years since the two have seen each other but the isolation from the rest of the world slowly tears at Sarah in ways that she was no expecting and the safe place in the countryside becomes a prison for both of them.
This is not a horror film in the traditional sense but a character piece that builds slowly as you get to learn about the two women and the different worlds that they come from. Binkley does a great job building the character relationships between the two as well as the history subtlety instead on large chunks of information. I also must commend Binkley who holds her own and can carry most of the weight of the film on her shoulders but I cannot dismiss Bock who is exceptionally good as well.
Because the film is a character piece it may be a tad slow for most viewers but the cinematography of Noah Rosenthal brings the idyllic countryside to life and is never boring especially considering the fact that most of the film takes place in a single house. The film makers make a lot out of the limited means that they have. This is a very good debut film from Binkley who does a fine job with character pieces and I hope she continues on this road with future productions.