The Perfect Husband tells the story of a couple (played by Gabriella Wright and Bret Roberts) who go to a cabin in the woods for a getaway after having a stillborn baby. It starts as a romantic weekend and turns into the husband being an annoying psychopath. Considering the title of the movie and the box art, I feel comfortable saying that’s not a spoiler.
Billed as a “terrifying psychological horror film,” the English-language Italian film from director Lucas Pavetto is rarely terrifying and while there are certainly psychological plot points, the “terror” is much more on the surface.
There is one somewhat unnerving scene, which occurs as a dream sequence, but the rest is pretty much by-the-numbers scare fare. There are two animal-based jumps scares and the classic “person suddenly appearing beside a car and throwing their hands against the window” jump scare. Other jump scares are simply musically driven and are largely ineffective.
As the box art would suggest, we do get a madman with an ax, and there is certainly some carnage here. The gore FX are fine, and one kill is actually pretty good. Unfortunately, it comes at the conclusion of an eye-roll-inducing scene involving a character who seems to only have been included in the movie for the sake of shock value (an issue that plagues other scenes throughout the duration of The Perfect Husband, by the way).
In fact, character development is a pretty substantial problem throughout the movie, which is all the more troubling considering it centers on two people. For as much time as we spend with them, they’re just not written in a way that gets us to care about them as characters despite the tragedy they’ve endured.
While it varies from scene to scene and performer to performer, some of the acting is pretty sub-par. The cinematography is adequate while the score is decent though forgettable.
Look, I’ve forgiven most of The Perfect Husband’s flaws in plenty of other movies. I can see past some generic jump scares, some bad performances, and underdeveloped characters in a movie if there’s something about the film that’s otherwise engaging. I’ve enjoyed a lot of movies that were not as “well made”. I’m sorry to say that I just couldn’t find anything to latch onto here.
What we have here is something akin to Antichrist meets Sleeping With the Enemy without the depth, style, or performances of either.
The Perfect Husband hits DVD and Blu-ray from Artsploitation on July 26. It’s slated for a VOD release on October 25.