John-Paul Sartre rewrote Hostel, you
sure wouldn’t want to be a character in it. Poor hapless David pretty much
finds himself in that position. The horror is menacing and downright
existential in Nikolas List’s Tombville (trailer here), which screens sometime
during the 2014 Fantastic Fest (where they don’t trouble themselves over bourgeoisie
things like schedules).
up barefoot with no memory, David is essentially trapped in a strange town,
where the sun never shines. After a few vaguely hostile encounters, a cryptic
figure reveals to the twentysomething he will only be allowed to leave when he
figures out why he is there in the first place. In between harrowing
encounters, including one rather uncomfortable interrogation session, David
starts searching his reawakened childhood memories for clues. Needless to say,
there are usually very good reasons why the mind represses some incidents, but
he seems to be on the right track when he discovers artifacts from his past in
this eerie town.
with the barest of sets, List creates the most sinister mood and environment you
will see on film in a month of Black Sabbaths. It is not a gore-fest or torture
porn, but Tombville is still decidedly
not for the fate of heart. We are talking dark here, in every sense.
this is more of a sizzle-reel for what List and cinematographer Camille
Langlois can do with a camera and a flashlight than an actor’s showcase. Still,
Pierre Lognay certainly looks convincingly terrified and much abused as David.
Frequent French screen heavy Eric Godon also makes a chilling villain, but it
would be spoilery to explain how so.
Even though List has a somewhat experimental
aesthetic and incorporates elements borrowed from westerns and psychological thrillers
like Spellbound, Tombville is absolutely, positively horror. It runs less than
seventy minutes, but it would be difficult to maintain such a malevolent vibe much
longer. It is impressive work, recommended for hearty genre fans (instead of
casual midnight movie dilettantes). It screens sometime over the coming week
(9/18-9/25), when this year’s Fantastic Fest commences in Austin, Texas.
Labels: Fantastic Fest '14, French Cinema, Horror Movies