Written and directed by Kasper Juhl, Your flesh, Your Curse is a gritty, emotional film sitting firmly on the extreme side of horror and whilst it is sure to leave you feeling numb it's a standout release.
The film revolves around Juliet White (Marie-Louise Damgaard Nielsen), a young troubled girl whom has clearly had it rough. We are shown a conversation with her father indicating she was abused in the past - leading to a life fuelled by drugs, alcohol and prostitution.
After a particularly heavy session Juliet overdoses in a secluded woodland spot, a random stranger passing by takes advantage of her lifeless body. When she starts to come around the man slits her throat and leaves her to die.
Juliet, now in Limbo is forced to re-live some of her horrific memories whilst also experiencing further torment.
Let me say this straight out of the block Marie-Louise is simply a stand out performance, I can't imagine this type of material to be easy to shoot and to deliver such a fantastic lead role needs to be noted. She takes up the majority of the air time, whilst other characters are fairly insignificant Marie-Louise is the focus and she delivers.
The film is separated by chapters, intertwined with interactions from some form of supernatural being - honestly this is the only real negative for me, whilst the situation needed context it almost felt out of place having such a character on screen.
As with a handful of films in this dark sub-genre cinematography is excellent, slow panning or static shots with little in the way of sound are contrasted with scenes of brutality and a haunting soundtrack.
When you feel like the film has reached its climax and things just cannot be any worse - you are wrong. Kasper takes us to another level of both physical and mental torment, sexual violence, gore and self harm are in abundance, nothing is held back.
I'm happy for film to be a key for escapism and will emerge myself where possible, but sometimes, and this is rare, we are presented with something so dark that you're a complete passenger on such a piece. I always reference the film Martyrs when in the realms of these dark 'psychological' horrors and I think it's for the sheer hopelessness that you feel when watching them, fully aware there's no light at the end of the tunnel, but we persevere with some sort of morbid curiosity.
Whilst the end would suggest Juliet has found some semblance of peace I couldn’t tell you for sure, honestly I'm not the best at interpreting the more abstract films and I'm definitely leaving with a whiff of 'WTF did I just watch?!'. Perhaps you'll find it a more clear-cut experience and although it didn’t hamper my overall score of the film I would be lying if I said I could explain the whole plot.
This is my first outing with Juhl's work and although I hear he has some prior controversial material, YFYC tells me exactly what he's about. This man has a clear and direct style and is going to tell his stories exactly how he wants to whilst you can either endure it or steer clear, that's the choice you're going to have make.
Overall Your flesh, Your Curse is extreme cinema to the core, its eye opening visuals coupled with Juhl's ability to take you on one powerful journey, make this a must watch for any fans of the genre.