Once upon a time, there was Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.” Then there was Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Single White Female.” Those will always be my favorites in the crazy girl thrillers.

Now we welcome one of my favorite Irishmen, director Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”), who comes bearing a winter’s night gift, “Greta.”

I will give you a few pieces to digest and no more. Thrillers like “Greta” and even Hitchcock’s “Psycho” are fragile and fall apart if you go into the dark of the theatre knowing, for example, that Tony Perkins’ mother is a corpse upstairs in a rocking chair. 

We begin by meeting our damsel in distress, Frances, (an engaging Chloe Grace Moretz) a recent college graduate who waits tables in a four-star restaurant.

Frances lives in an expensive Manhattan condo with her friend, much hipper Erica (a very good Maika Monroe — “The Guest,” “It Follows”) that her rich father (Colm Feore) gave her as a graduation present. 

The story begins as Frances finds an expensive purse someone left behind on the subway. It has all the necessary info inside plus some cash. Roommate Erica jokingly suggests keeping it.

We know at once that Frances will not. She’s a good Back Bay Boston girl with manners and solid moral convictions. 

We follow her to Brooklyn on a rainy day to the address in the purse, a little old ivy-covered townhouse set back in a quaint alley. Perfect.

Here, we meet Greta (the legendary European star Isabelle Huppert), a widowed piano teacher who lives alone beneath a creaky attic and above a damp, dark basement, in serious old European quaintness surrounded by classical records and yellowing faces in silver frames. Perfect.

There are thumping sounds and creaks in this old house. “They’re always constructing next door,” Greta explains. Of course.

Greta makes tea for Frances, who reluctantly accepts her charm and sweet aging neediness. Frances agrees to accompany Greta to the pound to pick up a rescue dog. Then they have tea again and pet the dog.

As the weeks pass and Frances is feeling a buyers’ remorse that comes with shivers, Greta phones and phones and phones, becoming an iPhone pest with shadings of a stalker. 

Frances is annoyed, Erika is concerned, but Frances, a bit naive for a New Yorker it seems to us, plays along until things take on deep, dark and throbbing tones.

There will be a bright daylight lunch at a cafe, then a dark, cozy dinner at Greta’s with wine and salad. While Greta stirs the vichyssoise, Francis searches for candles and comes across something we know at once is a deal breaker. 

Weeks will pass with Frances trying to ignore the constant emails, texts and snaps.

Greta, accompanied by heavy thumps of dark music, pops up on dark streets and bright avenues in shots that will lift you from your seat. She appears across the street from Frances’ job and stands there for hours. Her next move will be to have dinner there and request Frances’ service. This is the scene where Greta comes unhinged, and we’re thinking that this should be shown in a theater that has seat belts.

Okay. She’s a stalker? A friendly police officer says there’s nothing Frances can do. “It happens all the time in New York.” Really?

“Greta” is 98 nerve-tingling minutes long. In the final 40, director Jordan pulls out his thriller bag of old tricks. We’re old, we’ve been here before and seen them all, haven’t we? 

Show us what you’ve got Mr. Jordan. Show us something new.

Be careful what you wish for, my mother always warned. 

The final 20 minutes will make you wish the exit sign was brighter. Jordan and his cinematographer Seamus McGarvey have set and lit the stage, and unleashed the full talents of the gifted Isabelle Huppert. All the players are flawless, including Jordan’s favorite Irish actor Stephen Rea as an aging private detective.

But it’s the breathtaking Isabelle Huppert, the veteran star of over 120 films and Europe’s most honored actress who dominates this film. I promise you that her Greta will haunt your dreams for weeks to come. See it with someone you trust.

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and screen actor.

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