With roots deeply bedded in stalk and slash films from the 80’s, this little French number packs a serious punch. We have two twenty-something girls heading for a holiday at Alexia’s parents country home. During their first evening, they are visited by a crazed killer who relentlessly slaughters everyone, including Alexia’s young brother. It’s shocking stuff. The script/dialogue pretty much grinds to a halt after about 10 minutes and from then on, the fun begins.
But it’s not that simple. It’s a very basic, over used formula which has been cleverly manipulated into a fast moving, intelligent and chilling gore-fest. It’s beautifully shot as you’d expect from Alexandre Aja, one of France’s most exciting new directors in the genre who has lifted many clichés and famous classic gore scenes and breathed fresh life, and certainly putting plenty back into the cauldron.
Cecile De France (Marie) takes the lead role and offers and extremely convincing performance showing great depth of character, again breaking away from all clichés related to ‘the girl in the slasher film’.
Highlights include a marvellous Texas Chainsaw homage with a pavement grinder replacing the chainsaw, which is quite spectacular. It’s always good to have a yellow Mustang in any film for quite a fun car chase, while New Born by Muse takes over the speakers. There’s also a very gory decapitation as a bloke has his head stuck between the spokes on a stair banister. Murder at petrol stations has always been high up on my lists of ‘good locations for some gore’. Should I mention the twist? Great twist, hinted at very early on in the film. A second viewing is highly recommended which adds a lot more to the overall plot once the twist is apparent. I think I’ve said it before, but the French have currently got this genre nailed.