It was murder getting this life-size action figure out of the plastic box.
Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Cast: Chloé Coulloud, Félix Moati, Jérémy Kapone, Catherine Jacob, Béatrice Dalle
Prepare to have your expectations confounded. Not only is French horror Livid not what you might expect from directorial duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (who previously brought us the ultra-gory Inside), being as they put it, “more refined and cultivated”, it’s also not what you might expect after sitting through the opening half hour.
Early on, Livid takes great pains to ground its story in a believable world of real people with workaday troubles. We follow Lucy (Chloé Coulloud), a trainee carer born with heterochromia (that’s “David Bowie eyes”, to you and me). Discovering that one old woman on her rounds, a former dance teacher who’s been in a coma for years, apparently has “treasure” stashed away in her rather grand house, Lucy enlists her boyfriend and his brother to break in and search for it…
The carefullly-laid realist foundations make it all the more powerful when the film takes flight into an oneiric grown-up fairytale encompassing blood-splattered ballerinas, human taxidermy, child abduction and soul transference. Increasingly surreal and frequently baffling (particularly the ending, which stubbornly resists any attempt at rational explanation), it’s supremely creepy and holds considerably more surprises than the rote haunted house horror that initially appears to be in store. A film sure to divide opinion – the unexpected direction it takes will either leave you captivated or (sorry, can’t resist) livid.
Interviews with the directors and four of the cast (totalling 21 minutes), and the trailer.
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
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