Parasitic obsession sickens the roots of “Eileen,” director William Oldroyd’s adaptation of novelist Ottessa Moshfegh’s slim 2015 chiller. The 1960s-set noir, which played out of competition way back in January at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, stars Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie in career-topping turns. Neon will open the film in limited release on December 1 before going wide on December 8. Watch the official trailer below.

Set in a punishing 1964 winter outside of Boston, “Eileen” centers on the title character, a young secretary played by Thomas McKenzie, who becomes enchanted by the glamorous, blonde new counselor at the prison where she works. Their friendship takes a sinister turn around a recently incarcerated juvenile, now at the institution after his father’s murder, and together Eileen and Rebecca (Hathaway) spark a twisted connection reminiscent of “Carol” meets Hitchcock — especially when you consider Hathaway’s character’s cinematic namesake.

Oldroyd’s second feature — after “Lady Macbeth” launched Florence Pugh’s career — “Eileen” features a screenplay written by Moshfegh with her partner Luke Goebel.

From our Sundance review: “Oldroyd and cinematographer Ari Wegner evoke an immersively detailed world beneath a fuzzed-out celluloid grit. Oldroyd’s affinity for rear projection in a couple of driving scenes and the Val Lewton-style typeface in the opening credits crawl summon a nostalgia for the noirish romances about unloved but not bad people of yore — but the stylistic choices never feel hokey. Richard Reed Parry’s score, mixing jazz with more shivery ominous orchestral arrangements, amply abets the movie’s toxic pull … Oldroyd is clearly a master assembler of styles, but he never lets his vision outshine the wonderful central performances at the movie’s core.”

Hathaway recently spoke to IndieWire about the similarities between her character in “Eileen” and her role in Rebecca Miller’s “She Came to Me,” now in theaters. Both characters are having breakdowns of sorts. “I saw ‘Eileen’ at Sundance and then I saw [‘She Came to Me’] at Berlin, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I scream in two independent films this year.’ As an actor, you’re always scared that you’re repeating yourself, and I’m thrilled you saw differences in them and that there’s nuance to my primal screams,” she said.

After Sundance, “Eileen” most recently played NewFest in New York.

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