18 January 2009 | Coventry
Kids, say NO to Redheads!
Oh my God, Eric Cartman was right! I remember seeing an episode of "South Park" in which Cartman single-handedly wanted to perform some sort of genocide against red-haired kids because he proclaims them to be pure evil. With just a slight bit of lunatic imagination this low-budgeted but nonetheless artistic Canadian thriller more or less confirm the 'wicked redhead'-concept, as the red hair and titular pale skin are outward characteristics for the so-called "Succubus". These are female demons that use their sexy appearances and steaming libidos to seduce men and then subsequently feed on their flesh during the act of intercourse. For some strange reason, Succubi are regretfully underused in horror films nowadays (back in the rancid 60's and 70's they formed often recurring characters in sleazy European B-flicks) but "White Skin" is a very admirable and innovative new film with a few clever twists. Literature student Thierry has a congenital aversion almost like a phobia towards girls with red hair and pale skins. His sentiments even increase when his roommate and best friend Henri gets bitten in the throat by a redhead prostitute during a nightly escapade that nearly causes a racial conflict. Completely unexpected, Thierry then falls head over heels in love with the introvert and extremely pale skinned Claire. She's a strange and mysterious girl but Thierry gladly neglects his school work and social life in favor of her, much to the discontent of Henri. Thierry even guards Claire's hospital bed when she falls victim to a vicious case of skin cancer, but then he gradually discovers she and particularly her family have a much more terrifying condition than cancer. Director/Co-writer Daniel Roby is extremely sparing with clues during the first hour of the film and literally surrounds Claire's character with an aura of mystery and oddly enticing morbidity. The protagonists' vivid encounter with a blood-sucking redhead during the opening sequences somewhat gave an idea of what to expect, but still you keep having the impression they could go anywhere with the story. The pace is rather slow, but admittedly that is better to illustrate the growing bond between the two unusual lovers as well as in order to build up towards an offbeat and relatively shocking climax. "White Skin" isn't a gory movie and probably moves far too slow to impress the fans of recent horror stuff like "Saw IV" and "30 Days of Night", but it's definitely recommended to people with an interest in story and atmosphere driven thrillers. The fairly unknown Canadian cast does a good job. Lead guy Marc Paquet looks a bit like the older sibling of Daniel Radcliffe and the younger one of Tobey Maguire, but apparently this nerdish type of appearance works splendidly. Marianne Farley, as Claire, and particularly Jessica Malka as her insatiable younger sister Marquise are bewitching in the female leads.