And there’s plenty to like about this French horror thriller from director Patrick Ridremont.
Eugenie Derouand stars as Eva, a paraplegic who receives a mysterious box in the guise of the titular advent calendar from her friend Sophie (Honorine Magnier). As expected with ominous gifts with offers of treats that stretch from confectionary to real life rewards, there will be repercussions. The question though is whether the benefits outweigh these hindrances? How much is one willing to salvage for a better chance at life? For Eva, this temptation proves too great, but how far is she willing to go?
There are three rules to follow.
Eat all the chocolate… Or die.
Do every task given… Or die.
And don’t dump the advent calendar… Or…you guessed it. You die.
The premise is pretty straight up and the performances are solid across the board, allowing the viewer to step into the narrative easily. We’re even presented with a nicely stylised creature who lurks from within the box and comes out when rules are broken or when sacrifices need to be made. This helps ramp up the tension suitably, hooking you further into the drama. And sure enough when things go sour, it does so that stays firmly in believability. A tough thing to do when you’re playing in the realms of fantasy.
A solid feature with some nice moments that entertains despite some predictable moments.
It helps that the performances from the leads are strong to fuel the the loss of control as the drama unfolds.
The Advent Calendar is currently streaming on ShudderANZ
The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival is once again showcasing some excellent features this year, especially in the horror genre. Alongside the glorious, hard-edged, rape revenge film, Revenge, comes the debut directorial feature from Dominique Rocher, The Night Eats The World.
The film embodies Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend with its token male
protagonist, struggling with isolation in a post-apocalyptic world over run by
zombies, but there the similarities lie.
Set primarily within the confines of a
Parisian apartment block, our lone figure Sam (played by Anders Danielson Lie,
who is simply divine in this movie in creating his character with charm,
charisma, coupled with this awkward mix of inept social skills) wakes up in an
apartment room, after seeking refuge from a house party, only to find the
afore-mentioned apocalypse has hit and it would appear that there are no other
survivors… at least not human ones.
Whilst The Night Eats The World is a bit of a slow burn, audiences are rewarded with the attention to Sam’s character and as the film plays out we warm to his quirks. Sam is clearly a guy who struggles at the best of times to mix with people and would prefer to be holed up on his own, without the company of others. So it’s with some sense of irony that his wish comes true with the zombie outbreak, but through it all, his sense of isolation is heightened and he realizes that even he seeks companionship, which at one point he finds in a zombie trapped in the lift.
Despite his growing agoraphobia, Sam must break down his barriers and leap out into this strange new horizon, if he has any chance to survive in the ‘new world’.
It’s Sam’s anxiety about what may lay
beyond the comforts of his four walls that makes this such a refreshing film to
It also contains a feeling of warmth and
humour, which juxtaposes the climate that Sam is faced with. This too provides
a rich attraction to the movie that allows The
Night That Ate The World to stand out and claim its own identity in a
Director Dominique Rocher offers a quirky
and delightful take on the zombie genre, by offering a slice of humanity,
whilst shining a spotlight on how crippling anxiety can be.
It is a beautifully paced movie providing
ample time for the main protagonist to shine, with dramatic moments to pulsate
and keep the audience entertained.
Revenge is one of those rare films that not only promises, but also delivers. So impressed were The Surgeons team that it was in our Top 10 Movies of 2018. And if you were one of those who weren’t able to catch it in Australia last year, then you’re in luck as Revenge features in the programme for the Alliance Francoise French Film Festival in March.
It could easily be pigeonholed as a rape revenge horror film, but becomes so much more than that, steering away from the sexualisation to focus on the heart-pounding, brutal, and desperate fight for survival.
And boy is it a fight.
Revenge demands your attention and forces you to endure each scene to the bitter end, so it’s little wonder that it has been causing such a stir in the festival circuits.
When American socialite Jen spends a weekend away with her lover Richard before he embarks on a hunting trip with his friends, she gets more than she bargained for, when the whole affair turns incredibly ugly.
When one of the men, Stan forces himself on Jen while Richard is away, things go from bad to worse as Richard, who is unwilling for any of this to come to light, tries to pay his way out. When Jen refuses, he resorts to the only way he knows how… violence, and tries to end it all by pushing Jen off a cliff face.
Against all odds, Jen survives and every instinct in her being pushes her to claw her way out of the barren wastelands and claim back her dignity.
Some people may be quick to label this film as a feminist piece, which it is, but more than that, French director Coralie Fargeat produces a compelling narrative that is both stylish and gritty and realistic portrayal of the lengths that Jen has to go through a will to live. It’s a directorial feature that projects Fargeat immediately into the spotlight as she showcases how to make what essentially is a subject that can be all to hard to bear, and yet with heart and strong conviction we too are willing Jen to persist to the end behind every grimace and painful endeavour she must make to get there.
The acting is superb from a relatively small cast, with Matilda Lutz (Jen) more than capable of holding her own as the lone female opposite the trio of Kevin Janssens (Richard), Vincent Colombe (Stan), and Guillaume Bouchede (Dmitri).
By the films conclusion, all the characters must face up to their choices by pouring out their guts in order to bare all. There is no hiding when you are in the middle of the desert. You have no choice but fight in a barren and desolate landscape, and Revenge does exactly that.
Beautifully shot by cinematographer, Robrecht Heyvaert, with an amazing score by Robin Coudert that compliments the narrative and keeps driving up the tension, Revenge offers some great performances that push their acting to the very limits. Director Coralie Fargeat manages to harness all these elements together whilst providing a stunning movie that elevates itself above the quagmire of sensationalism by using smart and intense drama at its core.