Here I go. I am about to write one of those reviews that gets me endless "Not Helpful" votes because I am about to dare to trash a film that so many hold in such high regard. If there was a "Film Snob Scale" I think I would be about a 7. In my imaginary scale, a 10 is the total snob. This is the guy who talks to you about Jodorowsky and Malick and would never deign to watch something common. A 1 on this scale likes the Adam Sandler movies on Netflix. Why am I making up imaginary scales and rambling on in this review? It's to give you some sense of where I am coming from here. I am not one with common tastes. I enjoy film. I enjoy movies that make me think. With all of that said, I think only the 10s on my snob scale will truly like this film. I think it benefits from "foreign film disease" (yes, I'm making stuff up again). This is a syndrome where a movie that would be considered "good" in English is escalated to the status of greatness because it is in a foreign language. This idea that somehow foreign film makers, and especially French film makers, inherently make better films.
To begin with, the plot of this movie has existed since the dawn of the Poverty Row b-horror film. Whether the villain is interested in obtaining "parts" for his own self, his lover, his family member or anyone else, horror history is littered with the discarded body parts of some mad scientists plan to make someone whole again. So, in the void of anything creative in the plot, one has to ask if the plot we are given is done with anything the audience hasn't seen before. Has the director given us something new and profound. My answer to that is resoundingly "no".
The majority of this movie is so understated as to border on boring. Critics and film snobs alike will want to regale you with diatribes about how this director was seeking a new kind of horror, an intellectual horror, blah blah blah. There is no emotion on anyone's face (except the victims and half the time they can't be bothered). Nothing really happens ever in this movie. Half the run time is slow, lingering shots of some characters' face, endlessly hanging there as if this creates tension or atmosphere. There is nothing to entertain, at all. That is the crux of my problem with the film. I am all for art. I want creativity. I want thought. BUT I WANT ENTERTAINMENT. I have to end the movie thinking "yeah, that was good". If it is good and it, also, gives me something artistic, that's what creates a great movie. If it ends and I have to go looking for things to praise like cinematography, camera angles, or directive style. If I need to have completed a four year degree in film studies from UCLA to "appreciate" the movie, then it's not a good movie. It fails at its' primary purpose, which is to entertain.
In the end this is all sound and fury signifying nothing. It's a film snob's dream and a movie that the average joe will fall asleep on within 30 minutes. Unless you would consider yourself a "10" on the film snob scale, skip it.
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