Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie: Deep in the Woods (Promenons-Nous Dans les Bois)

Stop me if you've heard this one before: five good-looking youngsters venture out to a secluded house in the middle of a dark, spooky forest. What sets apart Deep in the Woods, then, is a defintie sense of style. instead of drawing inspiration from 80s slashers or 70s grindhouse, direction Lionel Delplanque takes inspiration from Italian giallos, particularly Dario Argento. Indeed, the opening sequence plays like an homage to Deep Red, with its tale of childhood trauma and its rich, saturated colors.

Deep in the Woods also plays upon the internal creepiness of fairy tales; in this case, the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Whereas Neil Jordan turned into a story of female sexual empowerment (helped, in no small part, by Angela Carter), Delplanque seems content to make a solid shocker. Although he confuses his animal metaphors (what's with all the crows?), his stylistic flourishes bring a surreal touch to a pedestrian storyline. Take, for instance, what seems to be the largest, steamiest bathroom in the world. Some of the camera tricks, of course, exist merely for their own sake (including: glove compartment cam, nylon bag cam, and fisheye lens crow cam), but if nothing else, they're kind of fun... which sums up the movie in general.

But what would a giallo be without flamboyant camera moves and psycho-sexual weirdness? The main creepy guy in question, Alex De Fersen, seems quasi-gay. He takes an unusual interest in blonde pretty boy Wilfried, complimenting Wilfried's physique, among other sleazy old man moves. And yet... he has a son and a co-dependent relationship with his pervy gameskeeper, Stephane (the French go-to guy for freakiness, Denis Levant). And although, in the end, the psychological make-up of the killer seems head-scratching, keep in mind that giallos were never really meant for their acuity into the human psyche. Instead, enjoy the lesbian sex, full-frontal nudity, and wolf-head imagery. It doesn't always have to make perfect sense when you've got those.

No comments: