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"It's young Lucy's first day as a trainee in-house caregiver. She visits Mrs Jessel, an old woman who lies in cerebral coma, by herself, in her large desolate house. Learning by accident that Mrs Jessel, a former dance teacher of repute, supposedly possesses a treasure somewhere in the house, Lucy and friends William and Ben decide to search the house in the hope of finding it. At night, they get into the house, which reveals itself to be increasingly peculiar. Their hunt for Mrs Jessel's treasure leads them into a horrifying supernatural series of events that will change Lucy forever..." Written by
I saw "Livid" at the FrightFest in London a few days ago and had neither particularly high nor low expectations before the film started. When the credits began to roll 88 minutes later the final result was similar to my opinion of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's directorial debut in 2007 with "Inside" it was good but flawed. However, any comparisons of the two films end here as they are on the opposing sides of the same genre and very different in their own right.
The plot evolves around a young woman named Lucy who is beginning her training as an in-house caregiver. During her visit to an unattended old woman who is in a cerebral coma and living in an isolated, looming mansion, she discovers that years earlier she had allegedly placed a large treasure within one of its many locked rooms. As Lucy returns home the viewer learns of her struggles which are both financial and emotional due to a recent loss. Soon after she is persuaded to return to the house by her boyfriend and his brother in search for the supposed treasure and, in doing so, this is where their lives begin to go rapidly downhill
Firstly, I'll start with the good elements of "Livid." The cinematography and visuals are absolutely beautiful and really make it a pleasurable viewing experience, especially when combined with the pulsing, brooding score of the film. The actress who plays Lucy is fantastic in her starring role, playing a likable character but with genuine depth, and there are no complaints to be made about the supporting cast. Furthermore, and probably the most importantly the film is absolutely terrifying at times. This was primarily psychological but also aided by some fantastic imagery.
Regarding the weaker parts of the movie, I felt that the first two thirds of the film are substantially better than the final third. This is because, to put it simply, the film does not seem to know which genre it wants to be. The transaction it makes when switching is not a particularly smooth one. Because of this, many gaping plot holes are left open and at times it is a struggle to make sense of what exactly is going on. Another issue with "Livid" was that the filmmakers seemed too dependent on "jump" scares which cheapened the movie and often ruined both the tension and flow. Finally, I think the very ending was much sillier than intended.
So whilst I had my issues with "Livid" I still believe that the strength of the positives more than compensates for the negative aspects, and that overall this is a genuinely good movie. I would recommend this to any horror (or even fantasy) fan. Considering the graphic nature of their previous film, it was interesting seeing the filmmakers experiment with such a different approach to the genre. And all in all, I believe it was successful.
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