An insanely disquieting film with many creepy weirdos. It’s like a mixture between forced hospitality à la Stephen King’s „Misery“ and business of degenerated famiiles à la Wes Craven’s „The Hills have Eyes“ or Tobe Hooper’s „Chain Saw Massacre“. And the moral: Don’t get lost in the Belgian countryside.
I'll always remember this, as it was the first movie I rented after moving to the city for film school. It was suggested by a clerk, and I've watched it many times. Beautiful and artistic, yet still maintains a tense and shocking horror edge. The central performance is hard to watch as Marc is stripped of his masculinity - or is it humanity? Though I never realized before, it takes the piss out of "torture porn".
Starts out like a dark comedy with one foot planted in the insane territory of Delicatessen before morphing into a full blown assault on the entire male system and becoming a sort of transcendent and poetic journey on the catharsis of allowing oneself to feel. 3.5 stars
Welz would later direct much stronger material in terms of originality, layers, excitement, and immediacy, but his auteuristic style is evident in not just these visuals that are poetically spine-tingling, but, perhaps most noticeably, in the absence of a musical score. It's all diagetic sound aside from the end credits. Plus Calvaire has France's creepiest creep in I Stand Alone/ High Tension's Philippe Nahon.