Charlotte Rampling plays Sarah Morton, an uptight English crime writer, who takes refuge in her publisher's isolated house in the French countryside to revive her creative juices. She is disturbed by the arrival of the publisher's daughter Julie, an emotionally unbalanced sexpot (Ludivine Sagnier). The film works best in its comedic second act. The discomfort of the prim and proper writer unnerved by the topless blond hellion who drinks and screws and eats with abandon is funny -- Rampling sneaking bites of sausage and swilling the younger woman's wine just to refill it with water is quite wonderful.
The promised thrills, however, do not satisfy. Francois Ozon is far too enamored of his script: a writer who writes about murders and cover-ups becomes enmeshed in her very own cover-up.