Hats off to Shudder in building a platform that showcases the global lens of the horror genre. With The Sadness; On The 3rd Day; Good Madam; and Moloch all depicting a wide variety of voices to vent their individual plights. The latest offering on the Exclusive and Original platform , Saloum sets the scene predominantly in the East African countries of Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau.
The story itself centres on a trio of legendary mercenaries known as the Bangui Hyenas – Chaka, Rafa, and Midnight. The symbolism of the number three holds strong throughout human history, bringing harmony, wisdom and understanding together. United the Bangui Hyenas present a strong front, and must lay low after extracting a drug lord out of the country. It is the breaking of the three that presents their greatest plight however, when it is revealed that Chaka harbours a secret of his own, that may or may not bring them to ruin. One that ties in with the mysticism that surrounds their choice of sanctuary; and will unleash an entity that will consume all in its path.
There is a lot to get your head around in this flick from Director Jean Luc Herbuot, as he switches up genres with the same pace that he enacts his vision. The frenetic energy combined with the beautiful landscape shots lie in contrast to the dark residual energy that lies beneath the surface; one that fuels the East African history and sees the mercenaries carrying the mental and physical scars that their land has ingrained in them through the past, present and possible future,
The weight is certainly felt, but not to the detriment of the narrative. With strong performances from all the cast, Saloum both lulls you into a sense of calm whilst ripping you up through its core as the turmoil is unshackled, so that the healing can begin.
- Saul Muerte
Saloum is currently screening on Shudder ANZ.