HIPPOPOTAMUS (2017) Reviews and overview

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‘Seeing is deceiving’

Hippopotamus is a 2017 British horror thriller feature film about a young woman who wakes up in a basement trapped with her kidnapper.

Written and directed by Edward A. Palmer, based on his 2015 short of the same name, the movie stars Ingvild Deila, Tom Lincoln, Stuart Mortimer and Jonathan Cobb.


Ruby (Ingvild Deila) wakes from a bad dream to find herself in a real-life nightmare. She’s trapped in a basement, her legs are broken and she can’t remember who she is or how she got there.

Her kidnapper, Tom (Stuart Mortimer), tells her she will remain captive until she falls in love with him. Ruby is focused on trying to escape until Tom starts helping her to remember her past and she begins to question everything…


Hippopotamus takes place primarily in the room in which Ruby is trapped, with some reliance on flashbacks, yet somehow director Palmer manages to cram the room full of significance. Throughout the film, there are clues that weave together and items that seem inconsequential at first but gain vast significance later on…” Addicted to Media

“The premise itself sounds extremely cliché but it manages to avoid the usual ‘girl trapped in a basement’ tropes. The film actually goes in unexpected directions but does so in a way that makes perfect sense. This is aided by great acting from the two leads who build considerable chemistry between their characters. The concept as a whole would likely flop otherwise.” David Gregg

“If you think you’ve seen it all regarding the woman-in-captive plot, then get ready for Edward Palmer’s sharply directed Hippopotamus (yes, that title is perfect – you’ll see). I guarantee it will ensnare your expectations and make you forget all the mediocre movies that came before it.” Diamond in the Rough Films 

Hippopotamus might throw a twist too many into the plot mechanics of the finale, especially when the penultimate one is so brutally cruel, but as an exercise in sleight of hand filmmaking, it’s an unpredictable, unconventional success.” Flickering Myth

“Nicely written, acted and executed make this indie gem one of the best I’ve seen this year. The familiar setting quickly established Hippopotamus as a potentially good movie, and the genre turn-around ensured an excellent one […] Something the entire cast and crew should be proud of.” Indy Red

“We would recommend that you watch Hippopotamus the first chance you get. It’s a dark and secretive movie that will stick with you long after it’s done. Great cinematography meets outstanding performances in a gripping story.” OC Movie Reviews

“There’s such a grounded rawness to the execution here that makes the viewer truly feel like they’re actually watching this unfold in real life, thanks to smart use of camera angles, the intentionally spartan aesthetic the basement setting provides, and the effective slow-burn mentality the narrative moves forward in that allows the viewer to think they’ve got it all figured out–until they don’t.” One Film Fan

“This title is “intentionally” slow-burning – and done well. I also tend to believe that the slower-paced nature really allows the climax of the movie to be that much better. And what a climax it is. As the back story is slowly pieced together, Hippopotamus makes you believe that the back story “is” the twist ending. Let me just say that’s not really the case.” Reel Romp

“Bold, dramatic, and painfully intense, Hippopotamus captures the very essence of cinema. It’s a genre film that knows where to transcend the limitations and where to knowingly obey them. The result is something quite special.” UK Film Review

” …if you are expecting a conventional horror yarn here with the prerequisite victimhood/torment/grisly content, then Hippopotamus isn’t for you; this is instead a highly unusual exploration of theme and trope, at times tranquil and at times tense, but always a deeply uneasy watch.” Warped Perspective


Hippopotamus was released on Vimeo on 27th March 2020.

Cast and characters:

Ingvild Deila … Ruby Ann Wattz
Tom Lincoln … Nick
Stuart Mortimer … Tom Allcroft
Jonathan Cobb … Rob

Filming locations:

Harrow, London, England
Greenock, Scotland

Technical details:

77 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1


£,5000 (estimated)


YouTube reviews:

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