‘Greta’ review: A highly stupid thriller totally worth your time

Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Frances McCullen and Isabelle Huppert as Greta Hideg in "Greta." Photo Credit: Focus Features/Jonathan Hession

Isabelle Huppert and Chloë Grace Moretz star in Neil Jordan’s ludicrous New York-set film.

Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Frances McCullen and Isabelle Huppert as Greta Hideg in "Greta."
Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Frances McCullen and Isabelle Huppert as Greta Hideg in "Greta." Photo Credit: Getty Images / Neilson Barnard

‘Greta’

Directed by Neil Jordan

Starring Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe

Rated R

That recording on the subway is right. If you see a suspicious package, tell a police officer. Even if it’s an elegant handbag — do not open it, find an identification card, ride your bike across the Williamsburg Bridge and hand it to the rightful owner. She may appear to be a kind, sophisticated French woman, but keep your New Yorker’s guard up: she’s trouble.

The message, if you are looking for one in the very entertaining but highly stupid thriller “Greta,” is to be distrustful. Not upbeat! But despite the high thread count glamour you get from casting Isabelle Huppert, Irish director Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game,” “Michael Collins,” Showtime’s “The Borgias”) clearly relishes that this is a good ol’ fashioned exploitation film. If we still had drive-ins, that would be the best place to see this.

Chloë Grace Moretz is our wide-eyed millennial Frances, new to New York and living with her pal Erica (Maika Monroe), whose father bought her a TriBeCa loft as a graduation gift. (It’s big enough to ride a bike through.) While Erica mostly goes to parties, does yoga and gets asparagus colonics (this last one is off-camera, thankfully) Frances works at a fancy restaurant on the Upper East Side. It is en route where she first sees the lost handbag that triggers this ridiculous story.

Greta (Huppert) is a widow whose daughter has moved off to a Paris music school while she languishes in her quaintly furnished mewshouse, longing for someone to talk to. Frances is still mourning the recent death of her mother (and upset with her father for “moving on”) so the pair soon become park-going, dog-adopting, meal-sharing pals. In real life, this would be nice. But in a trashy movie like this, you know it will be trouble.

Frances soon discovers this is a trap, and Greta starts stalking her and Erica. Her co-workers shrug it off, the cops don’t seem to care and we in the audience are gifted with psycho Huppert chomping up the scenery as an unhinged madwoman. Expect many an animated GIF out of this one.

Despite a preposterous plot and some of the fakest on-screen New York in a while (how hard is it to get the MTA’s font correct?) it’s hard not to love it. Though it may be worth waiting until streaming, not because it is so scary, but you’ll for sure want to shout “you idiot!!” at the screen multiple times.

Jordan Hoffman