If you are looking for an entry point in to the French extremist film genre, this is probably the best film you could watch for it. It’s not so extreme that it will put you off but the story line is extreme enough to turn the stomach of the feint hearted.
Yes it’s subtitled…but actually you really don’t need to know what the script adds to this film, as you can get the story of what is going on through the visuals alone. Although reading the subtitles will draw you in to the subtle humour of the piece. Spoilers below so only read if you want a loose idea of what to expect.
Vegan family are taking their daughter to veterinarian school. On the way they stop for food, and you learn that daughter is completely adverse to meat when some turns up in her mash potato and she almost reverts to a child being spoon fed something it doesn’t like.
On dropping her off, it becomes clear that her older sister is also at the same school and was supposed to met her. Where younger sister is clearly some form of protege, older sister is probably just scraping by.
Younger sister gets settled in to her dorm room, but before too long the seniors ransack the place and drag all the new pupils out, putting them through feux army moves until they get thrown in to an all night party where sisters unite.
Younger sister is a bit wet behind the ears as she clearly has spent her life studying rather than having a social life, she is uncomfortable with the fact she has a male room mate, despite him identifying that he is gay.
Over the next few days the seniors have the run of the new pupils making them do all sorts of not so hilarious tasks and trials. This peaks in each of them having to eat raw rabbits liver…younger sister tries to refuse saying she is vegan, but older sister refuses to back her up and eats the liver.
Younger sister…after eating the liver feels sick and gets some form of allergic reaction, but also starts to crave meat. She is caught eating raw chicken breasts and all manner of other meat based products as she tries to hide her shame of eating meat.
The meat eating gets more extreme as the film goes on, at one stage younger sister eats older sisters finger, in a fairly gruesome but comedic scene which started with a bikini wax.
Younger sister develops a very awkward sexual relationship with gay room mate.
It turns out that younger and older sister both have the same meat cravings and older sister has been making cars crash off the road so that she can eat the drivers.
Younger sister deems older sister out of control, and eventually she ends up staying with her and her room mate.
Younger sister wakes up to find room mate dead next to her in bed. She initially thinks she has done it, then realises she hasn’t eaten him, only to find sister gorged and catatonic in the kitchen.
The finale explained by the father is that this is a trait that runs in the family, displaying all kinds of scars over his body from where the mother has bitten in to him.
This film balances the dark story line, with some twisted humour and retro cinematography really well. It is not your usual, run of the mill canablism film.
The characters are well developed and while I didn’t feel any sympathy for any of them, the actors did a really good job of bringing this piece to life.
There is no over the top special effects, which is quite rare in films at the moment as usually there is some desperate blood flow from a jugular, but it is kept real which adds to the piece, making this canabilstic nature almost seem normal and mundane to the older sister.
This is well worth watching as a stand alone dramatic thriller even if you aren’t looking for a start to extremist cinema.
This film was shown at the Cannes film festival in 2016, and reports where that they were giving out sick bags to the audience…personally I don’t think that the images displayed were that stomach churning, but maybe I am completely desesatised, but knowing this before I saw the film I was a little disappointed that at no point did I need to hide behind a pillow.