* ½ (out of 4)
If you haven’t actually seen Roger Michell’s My Cousin Rachel, you could easily be tricked into believing that it faithfully carries forth the Hitchcockian tradition of suspense. The story, after all, is based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier, the English author of the books that inspired Hitchcock’s Rebecca and The Birds. Rachel’s various trailers take pains to amplify the “mysterious” nature of the plot – which, for reference, follows a man named Philip (Sam Claflin) as he gets to know a woman (named Rachel, played by Rachel Weisz) who may or may not be responsible for the death of his guardian. Even Michell himself has openly stated that he made Rachel with the intention of creating “the sensation of horror hovering at the edge of the frame.”
With such high expectations buffeting Rachel before you enter the theater, you’re bound to come out at least somewhat dissatisfied. Yet even if you watch Rachel with no knowledge of its background, the movie completely underwhelms.