I’m sure there are book written about this subject and I’m not claiming to be an authority on it but here’s an easy and slightly obvious guide to the new wave of French bizarre and disturbing films.
The term was originally coined by James Quandt to summarise a collection of transgressive films by French directors. Despite this list claiming to be French a couple of these films are Belgique or even Canadian but are just French in language.. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.
So in no particular order at all, here are 10 easy to find and probably most talked about French Extreme Movies, Vol 2 will be a little more obscure.. or at least I hope so.
01. Proie /Prey (2010)
This movie is probably the most recent that I’ve watched and it’s the only reason why it’s in this top position. It’s a disgusting buckets of gore body shocker that highlights the dangers of chemical waste being released into the nature and breeding mutant creatures. A family who are spending time in a remote cabin fancy a bit of hunting are soon have their weekend turned into a nightmare when they become the prey of a large mutated bore. A delightful step up from Razorback (1984) and Pighunt (2008), this film fixates on the pungent rotting mess that the abandoned pesticide has created, and if the stronger stomachs can sit through this it has a lot of gory and disturbing action scenes to top it off. It’s all kinda their own fault as it is the patriarch of the family who authorised the dumping of the waste in the first place.. 8/10
02.Frontière(s) /Frontier(s) (2007)
Continue reading New French Extremity Vol 1.
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Duval, Béatrice Dalle, Patrice Chéreau France/Austria. 1h 53m
Every Michael Haneke film brings something new and settling to the cinematic world. For this round he embarks on a contemporary rendition of the quiet before Ragnarok, where the film get it title from the epic Norse poem Völuspá.
Set in France, in an undisclosed post apocalyptic era, a family are on the run from Paris inner city and decide to trek out to their summer house in the country to try and scratch out an existence, the end of the world is never really disclosed but it’s evident that finding uncontaminated water. Continue reading Le Temps Du Loup / Time of the Wolf (2003)
Director:Alexandre Bustillo – Julien Maury
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Sam Coleman, James Bloor, Jessica Madsen, Vanessa Grasse. USA. 1h 30m
Finally a modern prequel that actually has some substance and a wild dark nature!! The sequels and remakes tried to pick leatherface from the rest of the family and turn him into another serial slasher such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers and while this new prequel again singles him out it gives a larger insight into his family, hopefully next we’ll be able to see what turned Grampa into the hammer wielding nutter as I feel that’s the most interesting character (fan fiction anyone)? Continue reading Leatherface (2017)
This is the first ever film, 16 frames made by the LPCC Type-16 camera by the godfather of film, Louis Le Prince before his mysterious disappearance in 1890. You can find out more about the great man here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Le_Prince#Man_Walking_Around_a_Corner_(LPCC_Type-16). The film has been amaturely put together and if you’ll blink you’ll miss it! But it shows a man walking around the corner as advertised in the title.
It’s amazing just how far we’ve come…
Director :Michel Franco Starring :Tim Roth (Mexico/France) 1h 47m
It’s not often that films like to detail the withering away of a person, it’s usually a story that doesn’t attract a large crowd, it can be depressing, sad, often conjuring up lots of emotions that an audience doesn’t want to feel, sensitive issues and awkward situations that an audience doesn’t want to feel. Chronic deals with a lot of these, in their rawness and forces us all to watch all the details. Continue reading Chronic (2015)
Director: Romolo Guerrieri.
Starring: Carroll Barker, Jean Sorel, Luigi Pistilli. Italy/France. 1h 35m.
A couple return to Geneva from their honeymoon flaunting around various parts of Europe, the rich Deborah (Barker), and beautiful lover Marcel (Sorel) are only in town for one night before things start to become strange. Marcel notices an old friend, Philip, who totally blanks him in a nightclub, after catching up with him again during the evening, Philip announces that Marcels former fiance Susan is dead and it’s all his fault, despite her death being a suicide Philip still strongly blames Marcel for her death. Continue reading The Sweet Body of Deborah/The Body/Married to Kill (1968)
Director : William Brent Bell
Starring : A.J. Cook, Brian Scott O’Connor, Simon Quarterman, Sebastian Roché,Vik Sahay . USA. 1h 29m.
A modern day werewolf movie that awkwardly slots into the found footage genre. From the director who gave us another found footage horror only a year before, Devil Inside (2012) and sadly this film makes lots of the same mistakes but it also quite enjoyable.
There aren’t many werewolf found footage movies, in fact I can’t think of any, but this film isn’t pure found footage, it’s just a bog standard film with a few clips filmed via security cameras for added unrest.
Starting out from cam footage, a family are attacked by an unknown ferocious beast, if you hadn’t seen a trailer (or read this review) you’d have thought it was a bear on meth, it’s such a violent scene. Later through news clips it’s announced that Talan Gwynek (Brian Scott O’Connor) has been arrested for the murders. This is when Kate Moore (A. J Cook) steps in, to protect Talan as he’s not had a fair representation. While interviewing the curious man she starts to realise that he might just be capable of the murders, it’s not until after Talan is tested for Porphyria that Kate and her team including Gavin Flemyng (Simon Quarterman) start to realise just what they are faced with and how the werewolf curse is already affecting them…
Continue reading Wer (2013)
Director: Olivier Marchal .
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, André Dussollier, Francis Renaud . France. 1h 51m.
I‘ve not covered a lot of French Cinema on my blog to date and I find this distressing and I’ll have to break this pattern as I watch a lot of French films, but for me some of the outstanding works of modern times are these slick and intelligent crime thrillers. For me this film is an excellent example of how to pay homage to a great director and film without pissing away the energy of a superb story and idea. Continue reading 36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004)
Director: Jean-Baptiste Andrea.
Starring: Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Alexandar Holden, Mick Cain, Billy Asher, Amber Smith. France. 1h 25m.
Directorial debut from the aspired French madman Jean-Baptiste Andrea, and sparingly turns out to be an intelligent creepy family horror. After taking a back road on the way to a routine family Christmas party, the patriarch nods off at the wheel and is soon shocked awake, but the never ending road the family find themselves on is not quite the one they intended to be on. The family carry on the dark winding road that seems to be leading to Harcourt, an unknown place but no matter how long they drive it seems unattainable. Continue reading Dead End (2003)
Director: Miguel Angel Vivas .
Starring: Matthew Fox, Jeffrey Donovan, Quinn McColgan . Spain, France, USA, Hungry. 1h 50m.
I’m at that stage where “infected” movies are actually starting to get on my nerves, especially the ones which just regurgitate the same old boring nonsense again and again, but there is something strangely unique about Extinction in that a fantasy safe zone has been erected around a family and an enemy/friend who has moved in next door but it’s not enough to really save this lengthy film, we dont need heart warming we need heart eating!!
There isn’t a lot of back story as we’re thrust into a dangerous and violent introduction as a bus travelling in the snow is attacked by “mutant/zombie/vampires” Zomutires? and it’s quite a gory beginning to this survival movie, this is brilliant as we are adults and understand he basics, so well done there, but what follows doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense but at times is scary and suspenseful. Continue reading Extinction (2015)