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Livid – 7

Director – Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury

Cast – Chloé Coulloud, Felix Moati, Jérémy Kapone, Catherine Jacob, Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Chloé Marcq, Béatrice Dalle, Loïc Berthezene

Release Year – 2011

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Boy was I looking forward to this. Livid is the first film from French filmmakers Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, the two behind one of my favorite horror films of all time, Inside. When I first read on this film I was immediately stoked and could not wait impatiently enough for my chance to view this piece and see if they still had “it” after Inside, and sure enough they still do. While this is a much tamer experience than what we were given with Inside, Livid still manages to provide great horror in very spooky fashion, also providing me with an original story that I never saw coming.

Lucy, a trainee in-house caregiver, arrives at the Jessel mansion for her first day of work attending to the old Mrs. Jessel, a former dance instructor now suffering a cerebral coma. During her first day of work Lucy learns that Mrs. Jessel has a large treasure hidden somewhere within the home, and after telling a few of her friends they break into the mansion late that night in search the riches sure to give them a better life. Their search of the peculiar and creepy home yields no results at first, but soon they find the treasure buried deep within the home, and the supernatural terrors that come with it.

Inside shocked the horror community as it turned heads by giving us possibly the best female slasher of all time, and I did not want to believe the film was a fluke or a stroke of luck for the Bustillo/Maury filmmaking duo. Livid proved that these two filmmakers do have the talent required to make it in this genre and leave their impression, and that only leaves me already anticipating their next effort, and I cannot wait long enough.

Livid takes off slow, introducing us to the young Lucie who is tasked with the seemingly easy but daunting responsibility of caring for a very elderly old woman, and a scary-looking one at that. Lucie will be her primary caregiver, a job that will leave her alone with the old woman in the very old creepy house, and you can see the nervousness on Lucie’s face when she realizes just how hard this job is going to be. The innocent Lucie would obviously never resort to crime as a way to make money, but when her loser boyfriend and his equally ratty friend take notice to her mentioning the old lady’s hidden treasure, she is forced to tag along and aid the thieves in making their way into the old home. Upon entering the home we are given some good creepy chills just from the atmosphere alone, and soon enough the horror kicks in when they learn the old lady is not as comatose as they expected, and has dire intentions for the trespassers. You get the feeling that maybe Lucie was set up in her finding out about the woman’s treasure, and as the story progresses there are numerous revelations made regarding why Lucie was chosen to work the mansion in the first place. I really do not want to go into strict detail so that I can avoid spoilers, but I will say that the supernatural presence in the film is incredible and had me on the edge of my seat at times. I must commend Bustillo and Maury for writing such an excellent piece that also had me guessing as to where the film would head next, and just when I thought I had figured out what was really going on in the home I was bombarded by more supernatural forces and characters, as well as the gory eliminations of other characters. This story is flooded with spooks, mystery, sadness, and redemption, making for a damn good and well-paced storyline that I never lost interest in and left me with a unique experience I will not forget.

Naturally, it only takes decent direction to sell a good story, but our directors manage to give us excellent direction that matches the positives the story provided. The atmosphere and sets used are incredible and provide supreme potential for good scares, and good scares too commence in awesome fashion as a result of this. Their execution of the horror was phenomenal and was shot in a very engaging fashion that elevated the likelihood of good scares. The look of the supernatural antagonists was incredible and outright scary to say the least. Do you remember how scary the witch was in Insidious? Well Livid‘s antagonists are just as scary and outnumber the witch greatly. I was surprised to see as much gore as I did in this piece, especially with it being a supernatural feast and not a slasher like their previous effort, but I welcomed the gore with open arms and found that it did not detriment the film in any way but enhanced it like gore tends to do. One thing I did not expect was the fantasy element of this piece, which was prevalent in flashback sequences as well as the final sequence, and while I did not prefer it I did find it unique and interesting for a horror film of this day and age, rounding out one of the better horror films of 2011(France)/2012(US).

Overall, Livid is a very effective and utterly creepy film from the duo that gave us Inside that once again gives us one of the best horror films of the year and of recent day. The storyline is highly effective and also provides many unique qualities not often employed in the horror genre, and while it keeps you guessing it also keeps you on the edge of your seat with expertly executed scares of the supernatural realm. Highly recommended.

Rating: 7/10

  1. April 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Never heard of this film but going to look for it now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • April 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      No problem. This is definitely worth searching for.

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