The thriller, written and directed by Fennell, stars Mulligan as Cassie, a former medical student who is seeking revenge after the rape of her best friend, Nina.
Variety reports that, during the film’s shocking and brutal climax, two audience members entered into a shouting match, with one of them screaming: “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to stay!” The other walked out.
“No one was sitting comfortably in their seats,” Mulligan told the publication.
“You could feel their stomach muscles all tightened up. I think that really is a rare thing. It does provoke a reaction that is unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time.”
Fennell, who plays Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown, added: “That’s not what you necessarily want from your first test screening.”
Recalling reading the script for the first time, Mulligan said: “In the climactic scene, there’s a brilliant monologue that Emerald wrote, and I remember when I read that monologue, my heart was sort of racing, thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, if I get to do this…’”
Promising Young Woman will be released in UK cinemas on 12 February 2021.
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