Posts Tagged ‘French horror’


Friday, October 8th, 2021

TITANE is the ferociously unbridled, Palme d’Or winning second film from RAW director Julia Decournau. It’s bizarre and it’s intense and if you’ve heard anything about it you probly heard about an outlandish thing involving a motor vehicle that happens early in the movie. But regardless, if it’s something you’re expecting to see I recommend not reading anything about it, including this review, until afterwards.

If you should be turning back but haven’t yet, here’s the vague version. I’ve seen it called a horror movie, but it fits existing horror templates considerably less than even RAW did. I would describe it as more like a relationship drama in a surreal world, with a lead character who is intensely flawed, strange, and yet human. It has that transgressive non-literal adult situation that the Bible would be against had the technology existed at the time, some horrific violence, and some nightmarish violations of existing biological function. (I think the term “body horror” has become too much of a cliche so I’m trying to come up with new ways to say it when necessary.) But it settles down (sort of) into a story about extremely broken people finding each other and the miracle of unconditional love.

Seriously, just go watch the movie because if you don’t I’m about to ruin it by giving you the plot in the form of a TV Guide listing. (read the rest of this shit…)


Friday, October 1st, 2021

RAW is a 2016 French-Belgian movie I’ve been planning to see for years. All I knew is that it was something about cannibalism, directed by a woman (Julia Ducournau), supposedly made people faint at film festivals (haven’t we all?), and is beloved by many horror loving friends and critics, especially women. With Ducournau’s new one TITANE looking very promising even before it won the Palme d’Or (the trailer makes it look like Cronenberg meets Tarantino meets THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS) I figured I better catch up.

This is a great movie. The directorial confidence is immediately striking, but you have to flow with it a while to realize just how original it is, how much it doesn’t follow any existing template. Ducournau told The Guardian “It’s not even a horror movie, even though I love horror movies.” It’s a coming of age story about a young woman starting college, with very relatable emotions painted in extreme, horrific strokes. It definitely doesn’t follow any traditional genre structure. But Justine’s school troubles include some repulsive body horror, some gore, and yes, some munching on flesh. We’re not talking Leatherface style – more like impulsive biting. Snacking, really. The simplicity of it, and the time it takes leading up to it, investing us in the people who do it, is what makes it harder to take than in so many other movies. (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to a movie, which I can prove because I seriously have been meaning to see this movie SHEITAN since it was the hot new horror movie out of France, and that was 11 years ago!

It’s about a group of young horny deadbeats – Bart (Olivier Barthelemy, MESRINE PART 2: PUBLIC ENEMY #1), Thai (Nicolas Le Phat Tan, no other credits) and Ladj (Ladj Ly, OUR DAY WILL COME) – who go clubbing on Christmas Eve Eve. They have no money and might get kicked out for not buying drinks, and they hassle their poor bartender friend Yasmine (Leila Bekhti, MESRINE PART 1: KILLER INSTINCT, A PROPHET) trying to get freebies. Bart is the biggest pain in the ass though because he hits on a girl who’s with her boyfriend, calls her an “ugly skank” when she won’t give him her phone number, ends up starting a fight and getting hit over the head with a bottle by a bouncer before getting thrown out. Well deserved.

But Yasmine introduced them to her childhood friend Eve (Roxane Mesquida, RUBBER) who sexy-dances with Thai and is super hot so these doofuses are all sniffing around her and are very amenable when she suggests “We can go to my place, in the country.” And they don’t know they’re in a horror movie, so they don’t know NEVER GO TO ANYBODY’S PLACE OUT IN THE COUNTRY. EVER! (read the rest of this shit…)


Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

tn_lividLIVID is from the writer-directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, who did INSIDE, an incredibly intense movie even before it turns envelope-pushing brutal. That was one of those rare movies that actually made my heart beat faster. So I looked forward to seeing their next movie… and then the Weinsteins brought it. “We are thrilled to be back in business with Julien and Alex and couldn’t be more excited to help bring their frightening vision to fans everywhere,” said Bob Weinstein in a press release. I bet they actually could’ve been more excited, because that was 2011 and they still haven’t brought their frightening vision to fans anywhere. I think they’re considering an American remake. While they ponder maybe doing that some day for some reason the team went on to do another one called AMONG THE LIVING and a segment of THE ABCS OF DEATH 2 and an upcoming Texas Chain Saw prequel called LEATHERFACE that will hopefully be better than it sounds. Meanwhile, four-years-old LIVID sits on the Weinstein’s Fuck You, It’s Ours trophy shelf. So I gave up waiting and rented the old region 2 DVD from France.

This is the story of Lucie (Chloe Coulloud) on her first day as a trainee helping Mrs. Wilson (Catherine Jacob) on her rounds taking care of elderly people, checking up on them, giving them their meds and stuff. Lucie, who kinda reminds me of Scarlett Johansson when she was a little younger, impresses Mrs. Wilson by taking to it well, even knowing how to administer shots. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bloody Mallory

Friday, October 5th, 2012

In a quest for odd action-horror combos I came across this comic booky French movie that kind of seems like their version of a Milla Jovovich vehicle. Although it came out in 2002 it’s not that slick digital type of fake-looking, like ULTRAVIOLET or a RESIDENT EVIL or something. It’s more of a retro-MORTAL KOMBAT type of look with lots of badly composited red cloudy skies, lightning strikes, green fire, etc. But it could use some aggressive KOMBATtty techno music or guitar-and-drums scoring instead of the shitty keyboard-pretends-to-be-orchestra approach.
(read the rest of this shit…)

House of Voices

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012


When I watched THE TALL MAN recently I thought it was writer/director Pascal Laugier’s first English language picture. Turns out his one feature before MARTYRS was also in English. Coincidentally this was produced by Christophe Gans, whose CRYING FREEMAN I reviewed recently too. Laugier was apparently Gans’s assistant, and director of the BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF making-of documentaries. (I wonder what kind of crazy unpredictable plot turns those had?) I guess he also appears in the movie itself, playing the assistant to Machemort, whoever that is. I wonder if he’s friends with Mark Dacascos? (read the rest of this shit…)


Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

tn_insideHere’s another popular 2007 French horror movie. This one came out about a month before FRONTIER(S) did and like that one it has a pregnant protagonist and takes place during a time of rioting in the underprivileged Parisian suburbs. But it seems to be in the present and it’s much simpler, fewer characters and locations, and to me way more effective. “Fun” is probly not the right word for this one, but it comes close.

The movie opens with a (digital) baby in its mother’s womb… and what happens to it when the mother is in a car accident. In-utero whiplash. So, yeah, it’s pretty fucked up. But that’s how they do it in France. (read the rest of this shit…)


Thursday, October 6th, 2011

tn_frontiersFrontier(s) is kind of a 2000s French take on THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. It takes place when an extreme right winger has been elected President, sparking riots across the Paris suburbs (which is English for French for “the hood”). Our protagonists are 5 kids who tried to take advantage of the chaos to do a robbery, but one of them got shot. They split up, and two of them take the wounded guy to the hospital while the other two head out to the booney(s) to hide out. Those two get to a small inn and try to get the two girls at the desk to, you know, enjoy the room with them. And things get ugly pretty quick after that.
(read the rest of this shit…)


Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

tn_martyrsMARTYRS is one seriously fucked up horror movie. It hails from France circa last year, but comes to region 1 DVD today. I went in knowing zero about the plot, just that it had a reputation as a good but brutal horror movie. This DVD actually has an introduction where the director, Pascal Laugier, introduces himself as “the director of the movie you’ve decided to watch tonight” and then says, “I’m not sure you’ve made the right decision.” Then he proceeds to apologize in advance.

And I think he’s only half joking. My recommendation: if you can take a really upsetting horror movie and want to see a good one, stop reading and see it fresh like I did. If you need some convincing or something you can click through. I’ll still try to be vague. (read the rest of this shit…)

High Tension

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006


This is another one of those heavily buzzed foreign imports that I put off watching forever. The final deciding factor, I keep seeing the trailer for a remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES which is made by these same frenchmen. So I figured I oughta investigate, see what these guys are about.

HIGH TENSION is a well made throwback kind of slasher movie, but not as good as WOLF CREEK. Similar subject matter though. Two young ladies, Marie and Alexia, go to visit Alexia’s parents out in the french boonies. While everybody’s in bed, some grunting redneck schlub (he looks like M. Emmett Walsh in an Ed Gein costume) drives up in a rusty truck, breaks in and starts killing everybody. Most of the movie – and the best part of the movie – involves Alexia being tied up and gagged in the back of the truck, while Marie chases the killer trying to save her. (read the rest of this shit…)