Following the arrival of a deaf and mute vagrant, a young woman, Josephine, disappears from her family estate. She follows him deep into the woods even though she seems to be disgusted by him, but does Josephine want to follow him?
Isild Le Besco,
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart,
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A group of artists, composed of the young actors Wilfried and Matthieu and the actresses Sophie, Mathilde and the dumb Jeanne, is hired by a millionaire, Axel de Fersen, to present a performance of Little Red Riding Hood in his isolated castle to celebrate the birthday of his grandson. Meanwhile, the police advises that a serial killer is raping and killing young women in the woods around that area. During the night, the group feels trapped and threatened in the castle, guessing who is and where might be the killer.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
An affectionate tribute to Continental horror movies from the '60s and '70s and a surprise box office blast in its native France, this was misleadingly hyped as a Euro answer to Wes Craven's SCREAM in a concession to the multiplex generation's limited frame of reference. It does boast an at least equally attractive young cast, headed by radiant - now married into royalty - Clotilde Corau, Danny Aiello's teen mistress in Paul Mazursky's undeservedly snubbed, quirky PICKLE, who does a wonderfully gratuitous full frontal nude scene my right hand will forever be grateful for !
Just like so many of the "gialli" it so closely seeks to emulate, the meager plot fails to hold up under close scrutiny. As a matter of fact, narrative sense is pretty much the first thing to go out of the window, so consider yourself forewarned. The story, such as it is, concerns a troupe of amateur actors touring with a private performance of their spectacularly misguided expressionist rendition of Little Red Riding Hood, with two Reds and two hunters for some reason. They wind up at the palatial mansion of an eccentric, wheelchair-bound millionaire (terrifically portrayed by the subtly menacing François Berléand) and his autistic grandson in the middle of the woods. Set-up barely completed, the expected yet exuberantly imaginative slaying commences. This is where the movie's main quality resides as nail gun, harpoon, scalding acid and some not so readily describable objects are put to spectacular use.
Youthful director Lionel Delplanque was just 28 when he made this feature debut - since followed by the Albert Dupontel farce LE PRESIDENT - following a number of well received macabre shorts. He shows considerable flair for creepy atmosphere through mood lighting and effectively employed music, masking the fact that the material is really stretched rather thin to sustain the full 90 minutes. Fortunately, there are flamboyant recreations of classic scare scenes from Mario Bava's BAY OF BLOOD, Dario Argento's DEEP RED and even Jean Brismée's unabashedly gaudy DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE. The presence of such art-house alumni as Denis Lavant (the fetish actor of tragically highbrow Léos Carax) and Marie Trintignant (sadly killed daughter of respected actor Jean-Louis) may give this scrumptiously entertaining flick a sheen of Cahiers Du Cinéma respectability, but don't let that discourage you. This is one of the more warped treats to find its way into regular movie theaters.
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