Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm Never Going To Belgium

I watched a film last night. You know when you have one of those days when you're walking home and you pass Blockbusters and you think, 'Oh, sod it, there's nothing on the telly', so you go in and take pot luck? Well, that was me last night - and the film I chose: The Ordeal.

I hadn't really heard much about the film, but I have a fondness for left-of- centre and/or foreign cinema and this seemed to be both. And it was. In spades.

If you haven't seen it and you want a totally weird night in, try it. The plot is basically a Backwoods horror story a la 'The Hills Have Eyes' or 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre', but with a few twists and set in Belgium. For instance, the heroine in peril is not a woman (but still conforms to the heroine stereotype - you'll have to see it), and the lead character is totally unsympathetic whereas the 'monster' of the piece looks like your favourite uncle and is motivated by such intense loneliness it has driven him mad. In fact, when he is removed from the plot near the film's end, his successor - and arguably a more monstrous man - looks like Santa Claus. Add in a deliciously surreal touch (look out for the woodland children and the pig-used-as-hunting-dog) and you have a totally original film.

And I haven't even mentioned the religious subtext.

I haven't enjoyed being so upset by a film since I saw Irreversible, but this manages it. It is a horror film, but you actually forget that for long periods, and when the horror does come it's from a total different area than you were expecting. It is cinema that provokes a reaction, and as such is worth watching anyway. But it's also fun in a somewhat twisted way.

And watch out for the 'dance' sequence in the bar which somehow manages to be very funny and genuinely disturbing at the same time.


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