Calvaire

Debutant director Fabrice Du Welz’s essay into the occluded, hatchet-strewn world of the horror-schlocker sees creepy singer Marc (Laurent Lucas), having broken down driving through Belgium’s mist-shrouded Fagne forest, obey Rule One of the ‘mortal-jeopardy’ movie by willingly accepting a room offered by the clearly wacko owner of a remote hostel. You can feel Du Welz’s snivelling delight as he slowly turns up the anxiety dial. Marc is deprived first of his mobile, then his car (torched), and finally of any hope of getting help from the locals, as he witnesses a golem-faced crew of sartorially inelegant malevolents availing themselves sexually of a barnful of squealing pigs. So far, so enjoyably dreadful. But as Du Welz gears up for poor Marc’s ensuing sexual, psychological and bloody physical humiliation/crucifixion, his art-house experimentation (Benoît Debie’s dervish camera and blood-red washes) and performance-art approach to ensemble acting (eerily reminiscent of Herzog’s ‘Heart of Glass’) sacrifices plausibility in favour of increasingly pretentious surreal black comedy.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday December 9 2005
Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Fabrice Du Welz
Screenwriter: Fabrice Du Welz, Romain Protat
Cast: Laurent Lucas
Jackie Berroyer
Philippe Nahon
Jean-Luc Couchard
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