Few films have confounded me this fest as LIVID – by all measure I should absolutely loathe this film. To call it “deliberate” would do it injustice, this film is slooowww, a single factor that’s usually death for any film at Midnight mid-fest (my seventh film of the day, this was). The film involves witch like old women, spooky houses, gothic trapping and ballerina figures – again, this all points to suck.
However, for whatever reason, the film c0mpletely worked on me. There’s an almost BARRY LYNDON quality to the film, it’s slow unfolding is often quite beautiful and moving. It’s images are shot with a precision, and even the spooky lady witch has an interesting take on that dusty role.
Yes, this is a “meddling kids” movie, a more carnal version of a Scooby Doo episode, but when they creep around looking for keys to unlock a given hidden door, it just all seemed to kind of make sense at the time (unlike, say, with this year’s KEYHOLE).
The directors Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury were last here with their unforgettably gruesome A L’INTERIEUR, and the contrast between the styles of these films couldn’t be more different on first look. Under the surface, it’s clear that there’s a shared sensibility, a certain way that they shoot their character creeping along. It’s actually pretty gratifying that they’ve gone in a different direction, and while LIVID is even more completely, utterly French in its lilting nature and sensibility compared to A L’INTERIEUR, the direcors have managed to capture both a sense of strange beauty and a somber, unsettled feeling that lasts throughout the film.
It’s not often that a Midnight Madness film can be accused of being pretty, but in many ways this film fits that description. I fear a vast majority of the audience will be put off by the pace, let alone the preposterous (yet strangely thrilling) ending, but for those keen in another direction for this type of genre pic you should definitely take a look at LIVID.