Starring Loïc Berthezene, Serge Cabon and Chloé Coulloud. Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. 88 minutes. 18A
Ever wonder what Drag Me to Hell would have been like with vampire ballerinas, a mindless 20-minute introduction and all French dialogue? Look no further than Livide.
Directors/writers Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury screened their now-cultish flick, Inside at Midnight Madness a few years back and said they were overwhelmed by the intense crowd response. They gasped at all the right moments. They laughed when it was warranted. And they clapped like crazy at the end. You get the feeling they made Livid hoping to recreate the same feelings from the horror community. The result is all over the place, straddling the line between straight-up bone-chilling imagery and goofy gross-out gags.
Unlike Drag Me to Hell, which made the best of both ends of that spectrum, Livide doesn’t want to commit to either. The first half of the film leads you on one track, assuming you’re in for a standard haunted house flick with a side of icky kiddie slasher stuff. There’s one nice shot of kids in store-bought Halloween masks, but aside from that, it’s fairly fright-less. Once you get past the hella pointless beginning and into the action, it takes an interesting, not to mention terrifying turn. But that all gets thrown out the window by the goofy, terrible CGI-ed ending.
The acting isn’t spectacular and neither is the script, so if you are going to buy into Livide it will because of the make-up and scenery (both remarkably realistic) or the actual story. The production value is actually rather incredible, especially considering the still-cheesiness of modern horror effects. The kills, though not probably plausible, look so much like the real deal you can’t think to look away.
As for the plot, I’m going to be purposely vague. The reason being? There are some genuine surprises in the middle section. But if taxidermied animals in tuxes, gas-masked grandmas, girls with different coloured eyes and special eye-closing scissors sound like the makings of a mind-blowing movie to you, prepare to have your head ripped in two. B