This dark twisted tale is akin to an urban legend, it has an eternal feel that hazes the brutality and mystifies the psychological aspects of the film.
After photography student Yannick (Marc Grodin) falls off his bike and injures himself, he makes the terrible mistake of knocking on the door of the Beaulieu residence to tidy himself up, after hearing screaming Yannick investigates and upon finding the source, a captive man, he also find himself trapped and held hostage in the house. Over time and during his incarceration he learns more about this batchit crazy family.
The father, Jacques Beaulieu (D’Amour) perceives himself as a righteous man, a fanatical chess player who kills drug dealer and peadophiles in order to make the place a better world. he runs a strict household and is in the process of turning his daughter Michelle (St-Sauver) into a similar psychopath when he recognises Yannicks ability for chess and starts trying to mould him into the perfect son, much to the anger of Sonia. but with an extremely submissive wife he is able to do as he pleases.
The biggest asset to this movie is the tension within the household and the surreal snippets that we’re treated to from time to time. Yannick notices a small patch of blood on the wall that grows and ruptures with his stress levels, he also mentally transports himself into a dreamy landscape to practice his chess games, the fragments give an insight into Yannick’s mental stability throughout the film. The actors are all very brilliant with their approach to some extremely bizarre characters, the coolness that resides in the house is just as unsettling as the violence that ensues.
Becoming crazy to survive among the crazies is Yannicks only means of survival, the only person who takes pity on him is Maude (Vachon), who is skittish creature who wants to help but who doesn’t want to bring about the wrath of her terrifying husband, who strangely does adore her dearly despite his cold exterior.
The film blew me away as much as any of the other psychotic family movies that I’ve seen, it has similar surreal aspects like The Loved Ones (20??) and somehow manages to dig deeply into the whole Chess concept, the story literally emerges from the board, from the strategic outset of the movie and smoothly into the board that Jacques is building in this basement.
Intriguing and yet unsettling the atmosphere that is often created in this film is acrid with fear and the fluctuation between sudden violence and nightmares is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.
For me the magic is in how the brutality is delivered, it sledgehammers through any running narrative and stops everything in it’s tracks. It’s very intelligent in hinting at underlying messages,
R – Mum and Dad, People Under the Stairs, Old Boy
L – Psychotic Families, Chess Movies
A – What would you do?
Vs – Pawn Sacrifice Bobby Fischer Vs 5150 Rue Des Ormes Jacques Beaulieu Chess master