29 April 2009 | Coventry
Thou Shall Respect thy Wife
Unless I'm mistaken, which actually happens quite often I must admit, this is one of the only Moroccan horror movies ever made; and that little trivia fact alone should be more than enough reason for genre fans to check it out! Considering the practically non-existent horror reputation of Morocco, it's fairly normal writer/director Jerome Cohen Olivar opted for a spooky story based on a local folklore legend. I use the word "normal" because each and every country on this planet probably has a handful of urban legends and folklore fables and they form the ideal and most easily accessible source for horror movies. The title refers to the name of an avenging angel/ghostly spirit wreaking havoc upon abusive men. Kandisha lived in the 14th century and was married to a wealthy but unfaithful prince. He abused her and locked her away in a cellar, but Kandisha got her vengeance. Over and over again, in fact, because it is said that Kandisha is the guardian angel of all mistreated Moroccan women. The rational but nevertheless sensible female attorney Nyla Jayde – who still struggles with the loss of her child – is asked to defend in court a woman who claims her husband was decapitated by the furious spirit of Kandisha. Nyla is very skeptical at first, but gradually turns into a firm believer of the legend as she digs deeper into the history of the legend. "Kandisha" is an extremely slow-paced but atmospheric and unsettling film. It's also too easy to just label this as horror, as "Kandisha" is far more ambitious than that. It's primarily a moving drama, a compelling courtroom thriller AND a truly poignant observation of the position of women in nowadays societies. The director easily could have turned this into a much more violent and exploitative shocker, especially since the titular ghost likes to chop heads off, but thankfully the film continuously remains subtle and tasteful drama. This is a vastly impressive film with captivating characters, a fascinatingly developing plot and a highly original twist-ending. The acting performance of Amira Casar as Nyla is breathtaking and I really wonder how David Carradine ended up on the set of this film, even though it's only for a brief cameo. Definitely recommended!