There’s such fantastic direction and care taken in this film of the horror subject that is rape itself. I’m really picky about depictions of sexual assault in movies, not because I find it offensive but because I find it hard to replicate all the emotions involved. Polanski sure does know rape and it really shows here unfortunately.
Sonically the movie thrives in the negative. When our lead actress is being raped Polanski purposely takes her voice away, really emulating the fear and helplessness in a genuinely scary way. The delusions she’s having are clearly transparent but intentionally so, though they tend to bleed into reality towards the end in a satisfying way.
Couple this with a claustrophobic atmosphere and we’re given a seriously trimmed up psychological horror thriller that was way ahead of its time. I’m joking, it wasn’t ahead of its time but doesn’t that make it sound better?
The reality is that the 60’s were actually a great era for suspense in horror movies. The effects were limited and the success of movies really relied on the directors creativity. Most of the production aspects age quite well in Repulsion and some of them were truly original to the movie itself.