Alleluia

"Excellent"

Alleluia Review


Much more than an unsettling horror movie (although it is that too), this film gets under the skin to play with the audience's emotional response, eliciting dark sympathies with the killers. It's an uncanny trick that Belgian director Fabrice Du Welz (Calvaire) does extremely well. He's also adept at putting a fresh spin on a true story that's been filmed three times before (as The Honeymoon Killers in 1969, Deep Crimson in 1996 and Lonely Hearts in 2006) and has inspired countless other murderous-lovers-on-the-run movies.

This time it has an internet twist, as Gloria (Lola Duenas) finds Michel (Laurent Lucas) on a dating website. She prepares for the date by leaving her daughter with a friend (Stephane Bissot); he prepares by burning her photo and chanting, "May Gloria succumb to my charms!" Not that he needs to bother, because she falls for him, invites him home and even gives him some cash for the road. But when he fails to answer her calls, she tracks him down and rumbles him as he seduces another woman for money. Instead of denouncing him, she proposes a partnership, and they pose as brother and sister as he woos Marguerite (Edith Le Merdy). But Gloria has a jealousy problem that turns violently fatal, so they move on to another widow (Anne-Marie Loop), and then another (Helena Noguerra), by which time Michel realises he'll need to sedate Gloria.

Yes, there's a dryly comical slant to the story even as it gets increasingly violent and unnerving. But it only works this well because the filmmaking is fiendishly clever and the actors give bravely realistic performances. Duenas is astonishing as Gloria: funny, passionate and utterly terrifying. And Lucas is just as unflinching in his portrayal of Michel's weakness for women. Both of these characters have very dark souls, but they're great at hiding this from their unsuspecting victims until the last possible moment. The entire cast offers open-handed performances that are utterly transparent, and everything is more alarming as a result.

By taking such a complex approach to what is essentially a slasher-horror movie, Du Welz manages to draw the audience right into the middle of the action, complicit with the killers rather than the victims. As a result, he forces the viewer to understand that romantic passion is driving all of this chaos, as Gloria and Lucas fight against what's expected and acceptable in society. They want to be a normal couple, but believe that taking extraordinary action is their only option. And the contradiction is turning them into monsters. Most shocking is how easy it is to relate to them.

 

Rich Cline



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

In Theaters: Tuesday 25th November 2003

Budget: $3.7M

Production compaines: Savage Films, One Eyed, Panique

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Fabrice Du Welz

Producer: Clement Miserez, , Matthieu Warter

Starring: as Michel, as Gloria, as Solange, Stéphane Bissot as Madeleine, Édith Le Merdy as Marguerite, Anne-Marie Loop as Gabriella, David Murgia as Père Luis, as Solange, Renaud Rutten as Le réceptionniste, Philippe Résimont as Fritkot man

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