Calvaire (2004)

Calvaire posterFrench horror movies are becoming more of a natural occurance these days. After “High Tension”, the next big French horror flick to be released comes from Fabrice Du Welz called Calvaire. Calvaire has an opera singer named Marc on his way to a Christmas job and as fate would have it, his car breaks down on him. Lucky for him, he meets a man who guides him to a nearby motel run by a man named Paul Bartel. Marc decides to stay there until he can get his car fixed but Bartel little to Marc’s knowledge…has other plans for him. And thus begins a french version of “Deliverance” mixed with a bit of “Wrong Turn”. Calvaire is really nothing new if you’re american, but if you’re not american or not an avid watcher of horror movies…you might just find this film shocking and disturbing. I personally found it very disturbing…but when you dissect this movie, it’s just another unlucky person stranded in rural territory with nutty rural people type of horror film. Of course Hollywood has made plenty of these movies before, but Calvaire sort of reverses things a bit.

hair cutInstead of grossing us out with an abundance of blood, butchering, and torture…the movie more so tries to mentally disturb with images of utter weirdness all the while playing with very stomach turning subjects such as beastiality and twisted sexual acts. This kind of madness would happen to any poor soul who happened to be unlucky enough to get stuck in rural West Virginia or Mississippi…but Calvaire wants us to believe the subject matter is something new and inventive, in some ways it is, it’s also a strange homage to other films that spins into its own warped weirdness, but it is the type of film that will reward multiple viewings. It’s the unexpected creepfest that’s beautifully realized, unsettling to watch, and invites discussion and thought when it’s over.almost over

Calvaire can be compared to the classic horror film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the similarities between them are many. But, The Ordeal makes this genre film of an innocent being thrust into a place of evil its own with its strange and bizarre locals and the titlular ordeal that Marc must endure. Definitely not for the squeamish or faint at heart.

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