A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.
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Carl Gabriel Yorke,
Four months before Christmas, Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were in a car crash, of which Sarah and her unborn baby were the only survivors. On Christmas Eve, Sarah stays home alone, where she grieves her husband and prepares to go to the hospital the next morning for the delivery. As night falls, a woman knocks on Sarah's door asking to use the phone. When she refuses, the woman reveals that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way in. Sarah calls the police; they inspect the home and determine the woman has left, but promise to keep watch over Sarah through the night. The woman returns and tries to take Sarah's unborn child, but Sarah locks herself in the bathroom. The strange woman torments Sarah through the night and kills all who try help her. Written by
No doubt, Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury are skillful directors but what's way more dominant here is the visual experience. The team responsible for the lighting does an amazing job, perfectly complemented by cinematographer Laurent Barès, a name that will be worth paying attention to in the future. The real edge are the gore effects though. The make-up department simply outdoes itself, as far as I'm concerned, this is as good as it gets. Also the performances by the two leads don't leave any room for complaints. This truly is an exceptionally well executed movie.
Still, it didn't work for me. As a scriptwriter, director Bustillo leaves a lot to be desired. First off, the movie has next to no plot. The setup and the climax are suitable for a flick like this, but there is really not much in between, leaving you utterly uninterested in where this is going, or why it is not going anywhere at all, ever. Nor does Bustillo really try to produce any character development. The protagonist is a depressive, bad-tempered woman who doesn't care about anything (including the child in her womb, making it little more then a plot device for reduction of her mobility) and the fact that her agony is justified doesn't make her any more interesting as a lead either. The antagonist on the other hand has about one line of informative dialog all together. Nevertheless, the death toll is over the top as Bustillo mindlessly throws one puppet after the other into the blender to be slaughtered within minutes to seconds without ever giving us the slightest reason to shed a tear for them. They really are just sacks of blood wandering up and down a set of stairs before tearing open, spilling their content on the walls. If nothing else, this fact makes the movie feel like a film-school experiment concerning make-up effects.
Now watching the last shot, I can't deny, at this level, the visual experience does to some degree substitute for the lack of script. With all the gore, the seas of blood, the perfectly composed lighting and shots, the agonizing atmosphere and generally the direction itself the movie has a certain poesy about it, which probably was the directors goal.
If you are a rather sensitive person, the visceral stimulation might blow your mind and you won't care too much about a plot all together. If you are a fan of horror flicks, the movie really has the gore and some uniqueness going for it. "Experienced" audiences might feel a bit too much to be desired. Nevertheless, an interesting experience.
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