Time Out says
Tue Feb 20 2007A tasteless stew of Gothic rural horror and ghastly Gallic humour haphazardly helmed by Saigon-born pop video director Kim Chapiron, this owes much to ‘Straw Dogs’ and ‘Kids’. Yet for all its provocative excesses (casual racism, hateful misogyny, would-be blasphemous Christian symbolism), there is never anything remotely scary, entertaining or thought-provoking about its shouty grotesquery.
Thrown out of the sweaty Styxx Club, the surly Bart (Olivier Bartélémy), his pals Ladj and Thai and beautiful bartender Yasmine accept an invitation to spend the night with the mysterious Eve (Roxanne Mesquida) at her parents’ country house. Alarm bells should have started ringing when lubricious local redhead Jeanne tried to masturbate Bart’s dog. Or when Vincent Cassel’s gurning, moustachioed housekeeper, Joseph, related the charming Christmas story of a farmer who, while possessed by Satan, impregnates his own sister. Or perhaps earlier, when Eve revealed her dead father’s bizarre collection of life-like dolls. But when every single person in a village is an inbred cretin, and the prospect of sex is constantly being dangled, the distractions are many.
While Cassel seems to be auditioning for a French remake of ‘The League of Gentlemen’, everyone else is either sultry or sulky. The set-up is too slow, the middle section creepy and unsettling, and the last third marred by a lack of deaths and a slew of infuriating trick endings. At least we should have seen these boring, amoral adolescents gruesomely dispatched. The film’s original title, ‘Sheitan’, is the Persian for Satan. It’s pronounced ‘Shite-an’, as in ‘Shite an’ then some’.
Author: Nigel Floyd
Fri Feb 23, 2007