Digital: Calvaire (2004)
Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas
) is a travelling singer who drives across Belgium in his van. After finishing a gig at a nursing home (where he’s hit on by women far older than him) he makes a hasty retreat onto the road once again, but unfortunately breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
He is helped by Bartel (Jackie Berroyer
) a local innkeeper, who unknown to Marc has become emotionally and psychologically unstable after his wife left him.
And so begins Marc’s ordeal (The Ordeal is Calvaire’s alternate title).
Light on blood and gore, but more than making up for it with a grimy and sleazy atmosphere that leaves you feeling like you should be scrubbing yourself with wire wool and bleach as the end credits roll, Calvaire
is a slow burn descent into madness as Marc’s life is turned upside down…as he is physically at one point too.
Co-writer/director Fabrice du Welz
isn’t afraid to take the time to slowly create an unsettling atmosphere that creeps up on you, eschewing jump scares and bloody set pieces for unnerving characters and camera shots that reveal details that you immediately wish you hadn’t seen.
Each character in the film is potentially a threat…or are they? Just one of the questions you ask at the beginning, as much like Marc, you enter this strange unknown village with no preconceptions, until events begin to slowly escalate and you begin to question everyone and everything.
Watch this at night…in the dark…then see how well you sleep!
Calvaire is currently on Digital Platforms.
Review by Dave
from a streaming link kindly supplied by Blue Finch Film Releasing via Alternate Current.