At the Vestalis Academy, a boarding school for girls, sixteen-year-old Vivien (Katie Douglas) and her fellow students follow a regimented program under the watchful eye of stern headmistress Miss Brixil (Sara Canning). Fearing an outside world they have never seen; the teens work hard to be perfect young women, both in cleanliness and domestic aptitude, in hopes of being adopted.

The school is not all as it seems though. Reluctant at first to heed the warnings of former friend Sophia (Celina Martin), Vivien begins to realize that sinister motives are at play.

Danishka Esterhazy’s Level 16 is a compelling thriller that serves as a powerful metaphor for the unnatural standards society places on women. Anchored by strong performances by its predominantly female cast, including an inspired cameo by Sheila McCarthy; Esterhazy not only captures the various cages that patriarchal systems place women in, but also how women are often pitting against each other in the process. Crackling with tension, Level 16 is a chilling and empowering film.

Tuesday, November 27, 7 PM, The Royal Cinema