Director: Alexandre Bastille & Julien Maury
Script: Ludivine Doazan, Alexandre Bastille & Julien Maury
Cast: Anne Marivin, Theo Fernandez, Francis Renaud, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Damien Ferdel, Fabien Jegoudez
Running time: 84 minutes
After a rather bloody prologue involving a rather dysfunctional family imploding in on itself, we fast forward a number of years to a different location and school kid Victor Camder, a bit of a wise arse, whose reaction to a notice about a lost cat is the amusing remark:‘ looks like another pit-bull sex toy!’ Victor’s placed in detention with two mates, but they play hooky and run for the hills. After pausing for a smoke (because they’re rebels don’t you know) they decide to get revenge on a local farmer by burning down his barn, but get caught in the process. They manage to escape his clutches and make for the river where they purloin a boat and start paddling around. So far, so very Stand by Me.
Things take an abrupt shift into horror territory when this trio of teenage trouble find themselves at the old, and now defunct, Blackwoods Film Studios. It’s there that they come across a mysterious tow-truck and a gagged and bound young woman in the vehicle’s trunk. Before they have time to even consider rescuing her they hear someone returning to the truck so they hide and soon witness some nut-job come and get her and take the poor lass down into a spooky basement area nearby.
After a reasonable period of panic and confusion the new ‘three investigators’ decide to try and rescue her, but find themselves up to their necks in crazy dudes wearing gas and clown masks, disturbing manikins and mounting body-parts…
Aux Yeux Des Vivants, or Among the Living to give it its English title, is an excitingly tense French horror film by the directors of Inside and Livid, and the upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel Leatherface. Featuring some cool locations and decent performances from its young stars Among the Living is further proof that the French know what they’re doing when it comes to making horror films.
Interestingly the filmmakers have chosen to mostly cut away from the actual kill scenes so fans of the ultra-gory stuff need not apply, but what it’s lacking in consistent grue it’s certainly not lacking when it comes to neat characterisations of the boy heroes, and some rather tense sequences at the disused studios, and further afield.
Fans of horror that tries to be a little different and freaky will appreciate the crazy people here, especially since the maniac son of ‘gas-mask dad’ tends to like terrorizing people dressed in nothing but a really disturbing clown mask. And what makes it worse is that the guy has some very peculiar genitalia. He even manages to kill someone by suffocating them with his foot…very weird!
This nicely shot film will satisfy most horror and thriller fans and, without giving too much away, the ending leaves things loosely open for a potential follow-up, but I’m not saying how. It’s certainly worth checking out…
Metrodome have released Among the Living on DVD. As with most Metrodome releases there were no extras on this disc. I think they need to up their game in that respect.