Review done by:  Fatally Yours
Starring: Laurent Lucas, Jackie Berroyer, Philippe Nahon, Jean-Luc Couchard,
Brigitte Lahaie, Gigi Coursigny

Directed by: Fabrice Du Welz

Story: A singer's car breaks down deep in the woods.


A disturbing little Belgian flick about a singer, Marc, who gets stuck out in the
sticks with some sick backwoods men. Marc has just performed at an old folks
home and sets out for his next gig, a large Christmas gala. He has quite a bit
of road to travel, but he unfortunately gets stuck in the middle of the forest
when his van breaks down. A strange young man, Boris, leads him to an inn
where he meets the owner, Mr. Bartel. He spends the night and wakes up to
find that Bartel has towed his car from the forest road to the inn, where he can
work on it. Bartel is very kind to Marc after finding out they are both
entertainers. He makes breakfast for him and promises to work on his van for
him. While Bartel works on his van, Marc decides to take a walk around the
countryside. Before departing, Bartel severely warns him not to go into the
village, as the villagers are “not like them.” After Bartel’s impassioned plea, Marc
promises not to go near the village.

Of course, curiosity gets the better of him and he stumbles upon a barn with
some of the local-yokels inside. At first, he just hears squeals and grunts, then
the sound of the men talking, and as he gets close enough, he is horrified to
find out that the men are taking advantage of some of the livestock. He
hurriedly runs away and heads back to Bartel’s. Meanwhile, Bartel is still
working on Marc’s car. By working I mean breaking and entering and going
through Marc’s things. He snags Marc’s cell phone and some nudie pics. When
Marc returns it’s almost nightfall. Bartel explains he couldn't fix his car but has
called the mechanic, who can’t make it out until the next day. Marc is a little
worried, but Bartel assures him everything will be right as rain. He cooks Marc a
special dinner and proceeds to explain to him how his wife Gloria left him and
how before her departure he was such a great comedian.

Marc just wants to eat in peace and go to bed, but Bartel begs him to sing one
of his songs. Marc finally sings, which brings a tear to Bartel’s eye. The next
morning, Bartel is nowhere to be found. Marc finds his cell phone and the
pictures in Bartel’s room. Bartel finds Marc in his room and won’t stop going on
about Gloria. Marc begins to panic a little bit, finding that the phone cord has
been cut and that all his clothes are gone, replaced by women’s clothes. He
looks outside his window to see Bartel smashing out the windows of his van
and dousing it with gasoline. When Marc tries to stop Bartel, he is knocked out
cold by him. After lighting the van on fire, Bartel drags Marc into the house,
where he dresses him in women’s clothes. When Marc comes too, he finds that
Bartel believes him to be his wife that left him.

Marc’s trouble doesn't stop there as he also has to contend with the villagers,
who also believe him to be Gloria. I’m not sure what to think of this movie…it
was pretty disturbing and had its creepy parts, but it just didn't grab my
attention. Sure, Bartel and the villagers were pretty twisted and desperate and
some scenes were pretty brutal, but it still left something to be desired. The
director, Fabrice Du Welz, did an excellent job with the camera work and the
Belgian countryside was gorgeous in winter. The actors all did an excellent job,
especially Laurent Lucas as Marc and Jackie Berroyer as Bartel. Still, it felt like
something was missing…

The story focuses on the build-up to Marc’s imprisonment within the inn, Bartel’
s descent into madness and then Marc’s brutalization. It is not a revenge flick a
la I Spit on Your Grave or Deliverance, but still warns of the dangers of those
that inhabit the countryside. It also moves slowly and towards the end I was
confused by what happens between the villagers and Bartel. This movie was
well done, but it still didn't grab my attention. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it
either…it kinda just sits in the middle, I suppose. Rent it if you are interested in
Belgian film. After watching this movie, I’d like to see more of what Belgium has
to offer in regards to horror films.

Overall: 7/10
Genres: Drama, Horror

Rated: R

Country: Belgium

Year: 2004

Runtime: 94 minutes

Studio: Palm Pictures


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