Livide is one of those films that will provoke all kinds of thought in your mind once the credits roll. While it is not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, it is certainly a high point in the careers of two amazing talents in the genre. Here...let us discuss...shall we?
For an abridged version of this review...check out our Deviant Spotlight here!
Livide is the second feature effort by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. You may remember the writer/director duo from their amazing debut film, Inside. A film that we feel is among the best that the last decade had to offer. Here, Bustillo and Maury display an expert sensibility that solidifies their stance within the genre. A force not to be reckoned with. The visuals are amazing and the premise, though a bit far-fetched and hair-brained, shows an imagination far beyond the grasp of most up-and-coming filmmakers working today.
Now that I'm done stroking the hell out of this dynamic filmmaking duo's ego, let's discuss that premise a little...shall we?
For as much as we love an original story any day of the week, we also share a love for basic plot elements that make sense and don't require one to suspend an amount of belief in which to soak in what is going on in any film. You know...the kind of films where you don't have to smoke a good amount of peyote in which to understand what is happening onscreen. Unfortunately, this is what mostly mires Livide down in its own ambitious convolution.
Livide opens on a young woman named Lucie (Chloe Coulloud) on her first day making the rounds in her new position as a care-giver for the elderly. She meets with an older instructor who introduces our Lucie to her new patients and explains what she will be doing in her new job. It isn't long before they descend on an old decrepit mansion owned by the bed-ridden Jessel, who appears to be in a cerebral coma...closed off to the world. It is here where we learn by the instructor that a treasure is hidden somewhere within the mansion, which many have searched for over the years...to no avail.
So, later that day...Lucie meets up with her boyfriend, Will, and buddy, Ben, for some drinks to wind down. During the conversation, she tells them about her day and shares the detail about the hidden treasure in coma-lady's old mansion. Of course, this whets the appetite of her boyfriend and before we know it, the three are off to Jessel's mansion in the middle of a Halloween night in search of unimaginable treasures.
Before I go on...there's a brilliant nod in the film to the awesomeness that is Halloween III: Season of the Witch. I won't say much about it other than once it happens, you're sitting there with a big cheesy grin on your face thinking to yourself....WOW...THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.
I'll also mention that everyone in the film does a great job acting out their respective parts. In particular, Chloe Coulloud, who plays Lucie...the girl with the two different colored eyes (a detail that will mean more to you later in the film). When she appeared onscreen, I was very much intrigued with her presence until ultimately falling in love with her...umm...performance.
It is also interesting to point out that the disturbingly attractive, Beatrice Dalle (the crazy bitch from Inside) shows up in a haunting cameo.
Anyway, they arrive at Jessel's old mansion and ultimately find their way in. I won't say more about the film, for fear of spoiling everything for you. It is a film that fuses all kinds of subgenres together in an original manner in hopes of creating something special. Perhaps the film is about vampires. Perhaps it is about supernatural witchcraft. Perhaps the film is about something much deeper and metaphysical that would require you to project yourself into another astral dimension in which to fully grasp what, exactly, is going on. Who knows? It's still a good film that blends elements of horror with spiritual fantasy with moments that will genuinely creep you out.
The practical special effects are pretty awesome, too. It meshes well with the CGI that they happen to use in the film. It makes for a visually striking experience and adds to the overall creepy layers of the film.
So, Livide isn't exactly the kind of film we were expecting from the makers of Inside. But, it is definitely a film that is crafted with originality and expertise from filmmakers that love horror. It's the kind of thing that might come out of Guillermo Del Toro's dark mind. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury are just getting started...and they have us thirsting for more!
Thanks for reading,