The Cult of Horror

The Cult of Horror

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Calvaire (04)

Directed by Fabrice Du Welz

This by-the-numbers slow paced "Oh-no, my car is broken down a creepy town horror" really caught my attention. I heard about particular scenes (bar dance) from this film for years and was surprised at the director's minimalist surreal approach to a typical setting story. A young traveling performer Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas) travels in a treacherous rain storm through old country road and unshockingly becomes stranded and led by an odd ball local, who is searching for his dog, to an abandoned Inn. The Inn keeper Bartel (Jackie Berroyer ) is a lovelorn man that never recovered from his lost love who was also a performer. The two become friends as the performer's vehicle is to be fixed within a day or two and the young traveler is heeded not to go into town.

Of course our young traveler heads into town and stumbles upon a glimpse of towns folk engaging in some pig bestiality. The man flees back to the hotel and realizes that the phone has never worked and no one is coming to fix his vehicle, at that point the Inn Keeper destroys his vehicle and holds him hostage. The traveler is then has half of his head shaven, wears women's clothes and is forced into the identify of his lost lover. The Inn Keeper goes into the town, with rifle in hand, and says to the peculiar villagers that his lover his back and he will kill anyone who tries to take her away. The oddball local finds a pig and thinks it is his lost dog and has Christmas Dinner with the Inn Keeper and his new found love. The Towns folk retaliate with rifles and pigs to take the traveler away.

The end is best left unspoiled. I was surprised with the symbolism and scenes of delusion from the antagonists and the transformation by the protagonist and when the credits rolled abruptly, The film felt as if it was more of a gritty and bizarre art piece than a horror film. 

I would recommend this only if you have a good attention span and appreciate films on  Bunuel, Jodorowsky level. Most horror fans would hate this and would be turned off by pacing and the overall weirdness of the film. Yet with the amount of depth and symbolism, there is a debatable and possible deeper meaning than just an unfortunate man's luck.


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