When the mutilated body of a young girl is found in the cellar of their New Jersey home, Frank and Edith Gulick go into denial. Hanging on for grim death to the shattered remnants of their American Dream, they submit to questioning from an anonymous and analytical voice.
Too full of bland statistics and a mite too perceptive to be the expression of their reasoned consciences, the voice in the darkness also sounds far too reasoned to represent the collective voice of a media witch-hunt.
But forced, for whatever reason and motive, to examine themselves and their attitudes, the couple are soon revealing far more than they realise. Naive beliefs and barely suppressed prejudices rise to the surface along with an all-too-clear image of their oddball son, Carl.
With the help of copious presentational effects - old photos projected on video, a creepily minimalist soundscape - the question-and-answer session becomes loaded with uncertainty. The spooling back of the tape to revisit and revise the supposedly familiar is a disquietingly effective touch.
Neil Doherty's subtle direction of Joyce Carol Oates' American classic produces a gripping and eloquent picture of two stoic parents - poignantly portrayed by Benny Young and Deirdre Murray - struggling to suppress what they may, or may not, believe to be the truth.
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