|Index||4 reviews in total|
The movie takes place in the post-WWI France. The coming back of a
young man, bring back dark secrets to the surface in the calm but
nonetheless secretive little village he's born in. The secret he will
discover will change his life forever.
This movie is not well-known even in its homeland and that's quite surprising because despite some minor flaws, it is a very interesting and full of suspense flick. The plot is quite interesting and you have to watch till the end to know the "full story".
Definitely a movie to check out, but you may have some troubles to find it.
George Lautner ,a very prolific director has produced mediocre films by
dozen.And however,there are three works ,in his monumental
indicates that he could have been so much more.
In 1963,"le septième juré" a film noir which is on a par with the best Clouzot and Duvivier.
In 1970,"la route de Salina" , a weird story of madness,one of Rita Hayworth 's last parts.
In 1988,this "maison assassinée" which ranks among the best French films of the decade.It remained ignored I hope that some day people will give it the place it deserves.
"La maison assassinée" came aside as a shock in the eighties:they did not make movies like this one any longer.It is return to the nineties melodrama -because we're closer to black melo than to thriller- which was thriving at the turn of the century with Xavier de Montépin("la porteuse de pain" ) or Adolphe D'Ennery ("les deux orphelines " which became Griffith's "orphans in the storm").But inside melodramatic elements,we 've got to notice the strong presence of the murder mystery à la Maurice Leblanc (and his hero Arsène Lupin).And this kind of rural detective melodrama ,this is what Jacques Becker (his masterpiece "Goupi Mains Rouges" ) or Christian-Jacques ("l'assassinat du père noël" did in their time ,but it was forty years before Lautner. Jean Becker ,(Jacques's son) tackled the genre but his movie ("l'été meurtrier",1982) suffered from a weak screenplay.
"La maison assassinée can boast a very strong screenplay.Adapted from a contemporary writer ,the story will grab you till the end.
So much for the prelims:in the darkest night, a man asks for refuge in a remote house ;outside three masked men are waiting :are they murderers?
A whole family is slain,and the only survivor(Bruel),twenty years later,comes back from WW1,to be confronted with the inhabitants of the village's hostility:they say he brings bad luck .He becomes an outcast.But he won't give up:he wants to know what happened to his parents and to avenge them.
The post-WW1 atmosphere is wonderfully recreated with his women left alone during the war,its draft dodgers who used to work behind a desk (the judge in the scene with Yann Colette,who was disfigured),its girls in search of a husband ,because of the dearth of young men.
THere's everything in this far-fetched by absorbing story: bewitchment complete with needles and dolls ,a castle with ferocious dogs , an old woman who resembles a witch (a remarkable Maria Meriko),and strange death that happens without the hero's intervention.Who is working behind the scenes?Everything revolves around the number three: three masked marauders,three letters,three girls who moves around the hero, three places (the village,the doomed house and the castle)..
This movie was far from the routine of the dull French cinema from the eighties.Add a marvelous cinematography which enhances the splendid rural landscapes and you wonder why Georges Lautner did not make more movies like this one.
The story of orphan Seraphime Monge returning to his home village after World War I to discover that the history of his family is soaked in blood and that in order to find redemption and break the spell he must revenge the death of his parents is quite interesting. It comes on the line of classic French novels like these of Alexandre Dumas, with 'justiciers' taking revenge over generations. Unfortunately the cinema making of this film is not up to the story, the director seems undecided whether to make a horror Edgar Alan Poe type of story or rather a romantic Alexandre Dumas epic. Despite some fair acting the movie never takes off, scenes that had a lot of dramatic potential are missed, and the usage of off-screen dialog spoils the whole first half of the film, just to be completely forgotten in the second one. I read on IMDb that the film was quire successful in the 80s, to be completely forgotten a few years later and unfortunately this is quite justified.
To be honest with you I don't like European movies that much. Everytime I sit down to watch one I have these preconceived ideas that the movie will be uninteresting and tedious. That was the also the case when I first started watching this movie, but soon I came to the conclusion that it was a good movie, and after that it just got better and better. The movie has some great acting, and most of all suspense. Especially the last 30-40 minutes were very thrilling. I must say I'm very surprised that this good movie has gotten so few votes. Is it a case of bad marketing?
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