Another day, another spooky story about three kids breaking into a creepy old person’s house.
Young carer Lucy (Chloe Culloud, the gallic, heterochromic Scarlett Johansson) is being trained by an older woman, Nurse Wilson (the delightfully po-faced Catherine Jacob) at a comatose patient’s mansion. She tells her boyfriend and friend about the rumours of a hidden fortune in the house, the former of whom points out how this completely unsubstantiated treasure can buy them out of their raggedy lots in life. Reluctantly, Lucy agrees.
Aside from that initial plot setup, French chiller Livide is worlds away from this year’s well-deserved critical darling Don’t Breathe. While the latter is a (literally breathtaking – our audience inadvertently played along with the thieves and held their breath for silence) straight-up home invasion thriller, Livide soon fractures into ghostly, surreal, and oddly beautiful vignettes of gothic and bloody imagery.
The less spoilt the better, but the bursts of gore and fairytale mythos layered on top of some already haunting atmosphere are a nice break from what was set up to look like a bog-standard slasher film. It might end up feeling like a movie of two uneven halves, but it’s all the more pleasantly jarring for it.
[I got back from Paris that evening, so from here on in, probably less French movies]