Take a Drink: for creepy looks and smiles
Take a Drink: for Red Flags big enough to blanket Tienanmen Square
Take a Drink: for the occult
Take a Drink: for sex
Do a Shot: for murder
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
The New French Extremity is a genre horror and arthouse buffs will be well familiar with, but one which will never show up at your local multiplex. Films from Pola X to High Tension to Martyrs give the Japanese a run for their money when it comes to pure, gory depravity.
Not everybody’s cup of tea
Alleluia owes a clear debt to its cousins, but director Fabrice Du Welz takes a different tack. Gloria (Lola Dueñas) is lonely single mother working in a morgue whose life takes a turn when she meets the creepily charismatic Michel (Laurent Lucas). Their, *ahem* working relationship, heads for some dark territory.
From the very first second, you know this movie is going nowhere good. That feeling intensifies when Michel and his toothy smile show up- he’s creepy as fuck from the get-go. You soon realize that’s true for Gloria as well. Something’s not right about her, but Dueñas makes her easy to empathize with her regardless. As the film progresses, it uses that instinct against you, and the argument of who’s more disturbed, and more dangerous, becomes a lot more muddled.
Tie goes to the runner?
As good as Dueñas and Lucas are, Du Welz and his creative team of DP Manuel Dacosse, editor Anne-Laure Guegan, composer Vincent Cahay, and sound mixer Ludovic Van Pachterbeke are what really takes Alleluia some next level shit. Truly unique, razor-sharp editing, crisp, nightmarishly framed cinematography, the portentous score, and jarring, animalistic soundwork and the ways they don’t… quite… match all come together to deliver an off-putting, progressively more demented world that hasn’t gone mad, but perhaps always has been. Just the half-framed smiles are more genuinely frightening than anything the mainstream horror industry’s done in years.
Nope, I’m outta here.
The point of no return is an inspired, particularly cracked interlude that I won’t spoil here. While not as gory as its French New Extremity brethren, don’t worry- there will be blood. However, it’s the thoroughly disturbing, brilliant, almost alien creativity of Du Welz’s use of film language that truly inspires horror and revulsion. Ben Wheatley’s been trying for this feeling for several films, perhaps coming closest in Sightseers. Fabrice Du Welz fucking nails it.
This. is. horror.
Last Call: Stick around for a spectacular mirror image of the beginning scene and a clever, gorgeous, messed up finale.