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.
Moral: stay away from the backwoods swamp people, kids. The absence of grown women from the village (at least from what can be seen within the film) speaks volumes about the social dynamic: this is a rural idyll in which there is no nanny state and the free folk are self-sufficient, well-armed pig-fuckers. Any unlucky strangers entering their midst are fair game: literally hunted as prey. Make Belgium Great Again!
Wikip: In northern France and Belgium, such wayside calvaries erected at the junction of routes and tracks "function both as navigation devices and objects of veneration". Since medieval times they have fixed the landscape, symbolically acquiring it for the Christian faith, in the same way that, previously, Megalithic monuments marked prehistoric landscapes according to presumed religious and ideological imperatives.
Sujet a priori plutôt intéressant, souvent alourdi par une lourde interprétation de Laurent Lucas, surjouant constamment et une pesante volonté de faire dans l'incongruité et l'outrancier à tous prix, des orientations pas vraiment nécessaires... www.cinefiches.com
This creepy tale features Deliverance-style backwoods weirdos and an effete male singer whose bus breaks down in the wrong place. The gore factor is ramped up was the movie progresses, as the characters become stranger and a bit in-bred. I wanted more in the way of character and backstory -- Du Weiz gives us little to work with outside of its basic plot. We know nothing about the singer, who is a bit of a cipher.
The Bill Murray line from the Hunter Thompson Biopic: “It wasn’t weird enough for me” does not apply. This movie is purely bizarre, so bizarre it is sometimes hard to watch. It is the kind of movie you cannot really recommend to people you not know well. So be careful.
2-3. Really nothing special in the concept; it PRETTY much has to ride the suspense of the execution. And that it does well enough that one could probably safely give this film a pass. The angle that really makes this film distinct is the gender angle, though, in that the lead male character is regarded and treated the way an average female horror protagonist would. Beyond that it's not particularly about gender.
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.