(Review originally written at 28 July 2008)

The movie is apparently based on a popular French horror novel, by Arthur Bernède, from 1927. Not that I had ever heard about it before but Belphégor has been a popular subject before for movies and mini-series. The first movie got released way back in 1927, simultaneously with the novel. Arthur Bernède was a part of a group of writers who wrote and produced films and novels simultaneously. The character Belphégor is one of his best known creations.

Once upon a time Sophie Marceau was a promising new European actress who would conquer Hollywood. She has now however dropped back again to movies like this one. Nothing wrong with playing in French quality movies, since it's the country she originates from but this movie is just ridicules.

Problem is mostly that the movie relies on its special effects, to make the movie good and scary. Well, horror and special effects never really have been a good combination though, with some exceptions here and there. It's not like the special effects are bad in this one. Especially for an European movie it is simply good but it;s just misplaced, since the movie gave the feeling it could had easily done without its effect. It would had actually made the movie a better and scarier one to watch, no doubt about that really.

The movie is just not ever tense or engaging to watch, also since the movie seems to have difficulties picking the right approach. At times the movie picks a light and just less serious approach, while at others it clearly attempts to be a good scary horror movie. This is mostly the reason why the movie just doesn't work out on any level. You can say that the movie is even a bit boring. It all also definitely gets worse toward the ending. After a while you just stop caring about this movie and its story and you start wishing you had decided to watch something else instead.

The editing seems totally off. It uses too fast cuts, without much style, while the fast editing was obviously intended to give the movie a good, modern style. Also the time-line is just plain messed up at times, as if some sequences got edited in the wrong order.

The musical score is also really annoying and at times doesn't even sounds to fit the movie, as if it all long got scored before the movie finished shooting. I can't believe composer Bruno Coulais is an Oscar nominated composer. The musical score is almost just as annoying as the movie its sound effects.

The movie is filled with many characters, which you however just couldn't care less about. It also just seems very unlikely that a woman like Sophie Marceau would ever fall for a man such as Frédéric Diefenthal. The movie also features Julie Christie, which is nice but just doesn't add much to the movie.

A horrible watch.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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