A recent report showed that, as workplaces go, hairdressing salons are the most fulfilling, and fun of all. Not this one though. Shy Claire (Najarra Townsend) is the stylist with the leastest in Kansas City. To her clients she’s therapist and confidante. But Claire has a dark secret: she’s got psychopathic tendencies.

A cocktail of OCD, body dysmorphia (her job involves standing in front of a mirror all day), obsession and sexual frustration have tipped her over the edge. The constant chatter about other people’s happy lives when her own is so barren is hardly an excuse for the gory things she can do with a pair of hairdressing scissors. She may be excessively bothered when she spills red wine on her dress, but not too fussy when the salon floor is awash with blood.

When she gets to do the special hairdo for Olivia’s (Brea Grant) wedding things get crazier still (even when the bridesmaids acknowledge to each other that something’s not right with creepy Claire). The finale gives the phrase “bad hair day” a whole new meaning.

Unsurprisingly, The Stylist is a stylish picture even if some lazy horror tropes are employed (creaking doors, the boarded-up cellar wherein lies a grisly secret, creepy-crawling around someone’s flat at night while they are asleep). The salon’s about as musty as Claire’s basement at home. Director Gevargizian keeps the schlock coming but a little more suspense might have helped. It’s a slow film with several scenes playing out, it seems, in laborious real time.

That said, it’s good to see a non-misogynistic horror movie for a change. The acting, especially from witchy Townsend who gives a touching and deeply human performance that stands out, is excellent. The Stylist might very well do for hairdressing what Psycho did for showering.

Available On the Arrow Video channel from Mon 1 Mar 2021