Whenever you see a reality TV camera crew turn
up in a genre film, you know their life expectancy will be severely limited.
Such is the case in France as well. Chloé from SOS Adoption was expecting to give
frazzled single adoptive mother Meredith Langston her usual pep talk. Instead,
she finds two aggressively evil teenaged girls. They were once innocent and
respectful, but something changed soon after moving into their new country
home. SOS Adoption will permanently
jump the shark in fourteen year old filmmaker (yessir, you read that right)
Nathan Ambrosioni’s Hostile (trailer here), which screens as
part of Mexico’s Morbido Fest 2015.
At first, Langston was deliriously happy to
be the mother of fifteen year old Emilie and the fourteen-going-on-fifteen
Anna, before they suddenly turned, you know, hostile. That was around the same
time they started talking to the sinister “Jefferson,” a bogeyman-ish figure
who appears from time to time in the garden. Mother Langston really starts to
crack when she sees Jefferson too. Feeling overwhelmed, Langston takes flight,
leaving her adopted Bad Seeds in Chloé’s reluctant care.
Frankly, it takes even less time for Chloé to get
completely freaked out by the Langston Sisters, so she arranges for them to
spend time Jessica Flaminsky and her husband Daniel, Vatican-approved
specialists in demonic possession. Ominously, Ms. Flaminsky senses there is
something profoundly different about their case, in a very bad way.
Nevertheless, her husband leaves her alone with the hellion sisters, to run
chores at the most inopportune time. Strangely enough, unsuspecting minders are
often left alone with the sinister sisters, which invariably leads to
commitment to transitions and establishing shots is iffy at best, but he
maintains an atmosphere of overpowering dread. As a teen himself, he seems to
have a firm handle on how horrible girls that age can act. That first-hand
knowledge gives Hostile a razor-sharp
edge. Despite not always crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s of his narrative,
Ambrosioni pulls off a significant third act twist that changes everything
about our assumptions, but nothing about the film’s menacing essence. Even with
its rough edges, Hostile will scare
the snot out of you.
Belan and Julie Venturelli are frighteningly credible as the twisted sisters,
while Magali Gouyon and Julien Croquet play the Flaminskys with the sort of sophisticated
eccentricity and cerebral arrogance you find in the very best horror movie
protagonists, going back to the legendary Peter Cushing. Ambrosioni also
contributes a great Hitchcockian cameo.
is not a gimmick. If you saw it cold, with no
foreknowledge of Ambrosioni’s identity, you would assume it was helmed by a
veteran French genre director. It is just all kinds of eerie. Highly
recommended for fans of occult horror, Hostile
screens this Sunday (11/1) , as part of this year’s Morbido.
Labels: French Cinema, Horror Movies, Morbido '15