Tormenting the Hen

In this weird thriller, a New York playwright (Dameka Hayes) invites her fiancee, a Brazilian environmental engineer (Carolina Monnerat), to join her at an upstate artists’ retreat, where unsettling conversations with outsiders expose the cracks in the women’s relationship and their individual selves. All these interactions are colored by sexism or homophobia, particularly when straight people consider the lesbian couple: a chatty volunteer picking them up at the local train station pries into their personal lives, the two male actors in the writer’s play dismiss her ideas, and the caretaker of the women’s cottage follows the engineer around while her partner is at work. Writer-director-cinematographer-editor Theodore Collatos amplifies dread in interesting ways, tinting the screen red when the couple fight and inserting jerky dream sequences of a confused, bleeding hen.