Cleopatra's Second Husband

An unhappy couple is terrorized by their house sitters in this psychological thriller. Gloomy, unsuccessful art photographer Robert Marrs (Paul Hipp) and his brittle wife, Hallie (Bitty Schram), are a perfect match in their own miserable way: He's sulky and passive; she's a shallow, controlling shrew. They're trying to conceive a child (mostly, it seems,...read more

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An unhappy couple is terrorized by their house sitters in this psychological thriller. Gloomy, unsuccessful art photographer Robert Marrs (Paul Hipp) and his brittle wife, Hallie (Bitty Schram), are a perfect match in their own miserable way: He's sulky and

passive; she's a shallow, controlling shrew. They're trying to conceive a child (mostly, it seems, because Hallie knows babies are this season's essential accessory and doesn't want to be the last person on the block to get one) and hope a relaxing vacation will smooth over the rifts in their

relationship. On the recommendation of one of Hallie's flighty friends (Robert, of course, doesn't have any), they let oversexed and temporarily homeless out-of-towners Zack (Boyd Kestner) and Sophie (Radha Mitchell) house-sit while they're away. But Hallie and Robert return ahead of schedule, and

Zack and Sophie have nowhere to go. Even though they've made a shambles of the house and allowed Robert's beloved tropical fish to die, Robert and Hallie let them stay. The interlopers quickly take over, driving Hallie away and walking all over the passive Robert. The first two-thirds of Jon

Reiss's feature debut is pitched as squirm-inducing dark comedy, filled with jabs at yuppie pretension and trendy one-upmanship that aren't really funny but are exaggerated enough not to hit uncomfortably close to home. But things take an unexpected turn into far grimmer territory when the wormy

Robert finally turns. The transition isn't as smooth as it might be, but Reiss — whose previous credits include unsettling videos for Trent Reznor and Survival Research Laboratories — pulls it off better than you might expect, and Robert's revenge is genuinely chilling. The willfully

obscure title apparently it alludes to Marc Antony's emasculation through his relationship with the Egyptian queen; Reiss claims it came to him while he watching Elizabeth Taylor's CLEOPATRA (1963).

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