GORE IN THE STORE
OUT OF THE WORLD ****
Directed by Marc Fouchard.
Starring Kevin Mischel, Aurelia Poirier.
Horror, France, 97 minutes.
Reviewed as part of Arrow Video FrightFest, Glasgow Film Festival ‘21.
Uber driver Leo is a private individual, keeping to himself in the front seat where it soon becomes apparent it is also where he has made his home. The only thing that seems to keep him otherwise occupied is composing music on his small keyboard and sampler. Slowly the reasons for Leo’s self-imposed solitude become clear when the inspiration for his creative endeavours is revealed. When he becomes enamoured of deaf and mute passenger Amelie, whose dancing stirs something within him, Leo’s creative and homicidal energies threaten to overtake whatever thin hold he has on his sanity.
OUT OF THE WORLD, or to give it its original language title HORS DU MONDE, could be classed in some ways as a slasher film, although it is part of that small stable of slasher cinema that places as much, if not more, effort into empathising with its killer whilst never making excuses for their behaviour. Other examples could be the grimy MANIAC of 1980 and its more recent remake, PEEPING TOM.
It’s a small stable of films that can count Michael Powell’s PEEPING TOM, 1980’s MANIAC and its 2012 remake among them. While it may not carry the edge of taboo busting those first two films carried in terms of psychological study and realistic gore respectively, Marc Fouchard’s study delves more into the creativity of its lead figure whilst also examining the loneliness brought on by past trauma that those earlier films also delved into. It is an approach that gives the film a more unique edge amongst other recent horror films. At times it comes across as a more stately film only to erupt into violence that comes across all the more shocking for its sudden unvarnished ferocity.
While light on plot it still manages to draw the viewer in and hold the attention all the way to its heart stopping yet graceful ending. For such a film to do this it needs characters and performances to do so and thankfully with leading man Kevin Mischel that is easily accomplished here. Peering out quietly from a bushy beard he manages to convey Leo’s turmoil in an instant, somehow leading the audience to sympathise with him despite his murderous urges that gain in troubling and unsettling intensity. He is ably supported by Aurelia Poirier, who as Amelie also delivers a fully rounded character forging a communicative bond with Leo through her physicality which seems to inspire his creative urges as much as his murderous impulses. She manages to deliver a performance that avoids the usual cliché-ridden role of muse/potential victim, managing to imbue her character with a grace and sympathy that is every bit the equal of her onscreen partner despite her lack of dialogue.
Fouchard makes the most of these performances and delivers a film that impresses throughout. Its visual style is subdued but sleek in places; an expertly edited montage of Leo’s daily routine and a look into his inner thoughts whilst attempting to lose himself to dance in a nightclub are a couple of the highlights Fouchard delivers here. The score also is impressive, managing seamlessly in places to become an actual part of the narrative. Fouchard has worked in other genres such as dance movies before this but here he takes to the horror genre naturally. OUT OF THE WORLD is a deeply impressive piece of work that makes you hope he chooses to stick with the genre for some time to come. OUT OF THE WORLD is a film that manages effortlessly to be sad, romantic, creepy and shocking, often all at the same time and is an exciting reminder of what French horror cinema is often capable of.