Aux yeux des vivants (Among the Living) Review

Posted: December 6, 2014 in 2014 Fantasy FilmFest, Foreign, Horror
Tags: , , , ,

Among-the-LivingThe opening scene of Aux yeux des vivants (Among the Living), the new French horror film from the makers of Inside and Livid and contributors to the anthology The ABCs of Death 2, is intense. Intense in this case translates to shocking, violent, and graphic. How intense? Even hardcore fans of the macabre may fear that they are in over their heads with this one. If the movie starts with this type of shock, you might ask yourself frightfully in the cool black of a darkened movie theater, what lies in store over the remaining 85 minutes?

Interestingly, the directing/screenwriting duo of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury back off after the outrageous start, never attempting to top the savagery of the initial sequence. The net effect is a narrative structure that resembles a classic roller coaster: a steep plunge into terror at the outset which creates the momentum to drive the rest of the ride. It nearly works here, but Among the Living, after tearing through the first two-thirds of its story with a terrific pace, comes off the rails at the end with a less than fully satisfying conclusion.

After the prologue, Bustillo and Maury dramatically turn down the drama by switching to a school where three ADD middle schoolers off their ritalin decide to ditch the rest of the school day in favor of some good old fashioned misdemeanor vandalism. It’s all fun and games until someone’s barn gets burned down, but before they can even process the implications, our easily distracted teens are off chasing a car headed for the abandoned movie studio. What they find in the trunk of the car is shocking; what put it there is worse.

Among the Living is a fresh take on the slasher flick with a liberal dose of the mutant offspring sub genre mixed in. It’s as if the mutant pack from The Hills Have Eyes have relocated to France and decided to go full Halloween on the locals. The mishandled ending aside, the movie comes close to being mandatory viewing for horror aficionados. Bustillo and Maury’s affection for their art is obvious, and horror films made by those who revel in the genre are almost invariably superior to those tossed out by individuals looking for a quick in or a quicker buck.

Test yourself with the opening. If you can make it through with your eyes, you’ll survive the rest of the ride.

  1. Mirella McCracken says:

    Magnifique Monsieur Karma!

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