The directorial duo that bought us the brutal ‘Inside’ delivers a mesmerising adult fantasy tale which delivers both chills and gore by the bucket load.
The aptly titled ‘Livid’ brings to life a simple tale of how, once again, bad things will happen to those who do wrong. In this example a young trainee carer makes a massive error in judgement by encouraging her boyfriend and his brother to steal from a seemingly harmless old lady. Comatose in her creepy isolated mansion, the old lady is said to have hidden a precious treasure on the premises. After a rather sloppy break-in the group soon discover all that glitters isn’t gold as they awaken a terrifying secret which they will take to their graves.
After a brief introduction to all those involved, the movie quickly begins to generate a choking atmosphere which only seems to get darker as the movie progresses. The characters are fairly one dimensional, which is becoming a familiar characteristic of modern French horror, and like in the works of maestro ‘Dario Argento’, the real beauty of the movie comes through attention to detail in all the little things often forgotten by our stateside counterparts. The locations, exaggerated use of contrasting colour in key scenes and of course a thick and layered score all build a rich fantasy worlds which is genuinely creepy and utterly absorbing.
The story is more reminiscent of Argento’s ‘Susperia’ or Del Toro’s more fantasy efforts than the directors previous works, and those looking for similar brutality will have to wait a while in ‘Livid’ for that trademark pay off. For me this wasn’t such a bad thing, I found the build-up to the gory climax rather terrifying actually. It’s tense and very, very creepy in a refreshingly original way. Some of the scenes in the house, particularly involving a fucked up mannequin tea party and a clockwork corpse, were enough to take the wind out of me. Naturally what scares each person is rather subjective, so if you have the benefit of a more stable and rational mind you might not appreciate this element of the movie, but rest assured once the gore came it was delivered in typical style and certainly packs the usual punch to justify the obligatory 18 certificate.
The ending is my only real criticism, despite the opportunity to end the movie with an interesting genre twist the final scenes are rather drawn out and perhaps take the concept a little further than it needed to go, that said, you’re talking about the last 2 minutes of an otherwise excellent movie.
Overall to say any more about ‘Livid’ would risk ruining your experience. For me it’s a must for any fan of euro-horror, particularly for those left looking for a follow-up to Argento’s brisk visits into the supernatural. I was disappointed to see such poor review scores on such sites as Amazon.co.uk because this movie, for me anyway, showcases an almost flawless example of how fantasy horror should be. Just don’t expect ‘Inside 2’!