Thursday, August 16, 2012
Marie (Cecile De France) and Alex (Maiwenn) are college roommates driving out to the farmhouse of Alex's family to study for finals. Marie clearly has some kind lesbian attraction for Alex, but her friend never picks up on it. That night, a redneck trucker (Phillipe Nahon) arrives at the house and gruesomely begins terrorizing and murdering the family and kidnapping Alex, leaving it to Marie to mount a rescue.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Straw Dogs. The violence is not glamorized or cleaned up to be exciting in anyway. People die horribly and painfully. A family out in the middle of nowhere gets brutalized by a killer with no history, no reason, and no motive other than a deranged obsession with Alex. It's a frightening and simple conceit to realize just how vulnerable innocent people can be to someone so monstrous.
The trucker embodies just about every fear of men a woman might have: a fat, dirty, grotesque, perverted, and murderous male who treats women as objects. His first scene shows him using a decapitated head to pleasure himself in his truck. Yet, he is efficient in his killings, and Aja draws out the suspense effectively, particularly in one scene when Marie tries to hide evidence of her stay just before he searches the guest room, and Nahon gives a wonderfully realized and creepy performance.
I'm not sure how to recommend this. Horror fans will admire the first hour's intensity and shocks while mainstream audiences will be repulsed, but the ending is infuriating. As a viewer, to witness such atrocities and then find out they didn't happen the way they were shown is insulting, and the film's tautness collapses under pretentiousness and incoherence. All I can do is sigh.