Paddy Considine becomes the latest name on a long, delicious list of British directors who've crafted debuts in the last couple of years that belie their experience, and it's his steady hand that keeps this compact tale of demons and angels from tipping too far one way into Eastenders: The Serious Episodes territory and too far the other into a gruesome, OTT shoutyfest.
It helps that Considine's hired Peter Mullan and his astonishing voice, which originates somewhere in the bowels of Hell before rumbling out of his mouth like a malevolent Harley Davidson. Mullan's walking anger-management case study is a formidable presence, managing somehow to evoke sympathy and antipathy in equal measure, and it's hard to take your eyes off him, no matter how reprehensible his actions.
But even Mullan is overshadowed by Olivia Colman, who couldn't be further from her more familiar silly-faced roles in TV comedy. Colman's portrayal of a woman about to lose faith in everyone and everything is a revelation, and her scenes with Eddie Marsan, who edges closer to typecasting hell as another utter shit, are among the most intense in modern cinema, despite mostly taking place in a detached suburban house on a dull but ostensibly pleasant estate.
Probably not one for dog lovers though.