Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bastillo.
  Starring Alysson Paradis, Beatrice Dalle.
Horror, France, 82 minutes, certificate 18.


Released in the UK on Blu-ray by Second Sight on 5th February.


Second Sight carry on their sterling work in bringing key works of the small movement of what came to be known as “New Extremity.” This debut film from directors Maury and Bustillo has lost absolutely none of its disturbing or relentless edge in the time since its original release in 2007. The premise of a pregnant woman grieving for her husband only to come under severe threat from a mysterious woman takes absolutely no prisoners, sadistically playing on the audience's sensitivity with several cinematic sacred cows.


It is a streamlined plot that gets maximum effect from its brief yet punishing 82-minute running time. The blood, and there is a lot of blood, does not so much flow as so much flood the screen in this Blu-ray remaster. What is also apparent, especially with the film's dark palette is a certain amount of grain across the screen. Seeing that the film’s primary colour is red this does not prove to be a distraction and for some viewers may prove to be a welcome distraction from all the various forms of viscera that get thrown across the screen. Even a couple of the films obvious CGI shots and one particularly rubbery practical effect of cranial damage fail to distract from the rest of the shocking gore and violence.


Available in a standard and limited edition set, which comes with art cards and a 70-page booklet, this is a more than welcome upgrade on the previous DVD. The special features include two audio commentaries; one from Anna Bogutskaya which examines the films place within the New Extremity movement as well as its more personal themes and another track from Elena Lazic which concentrates on the film in a more immediate manner.


It is somewhat reassuring to discover within the five substantial interviews included here that the films unnamed antagonist played so chillingly by Beatrice Dalle was considered off-screen by her main victim Alysson Paradis to be “a really soft, lovely little elf” and by directors Maury and Bastillo to be a protective, near maternal presence who put the film above everything else and is also credited with improving her character, as well as the film itself. One more interesting tidbit is to hear how the film developed from Maury’s original idea of a pregnant woman tormented by a placenta eating serial killer attempting to maintain a youthful appearance.


While not for everyone, even hardened horror fans may find the films pitch black tone and sheer brutality hard to stomach, this Blu-ray is no doubt a must buy for fans of its delirious over the top story and style. Far more than an exploitation take on pregnancy in peril the film, like MARTYRS, manages to transcend its native genre by the time of the climax through its extreme and near otherworldly look at how far a mother will go for her child. A tentative recommendation perhaps but one worth taking to experience that all too rare true shock that horror should provide more regularly.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans