Monday, 18 July 2016

LA RAGE DU DEMON - FANTASIA 2016 - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Evil Méliès Possessed?

La Rage du Démon (2016)
Dir. Fabien Delage
Starring: Christophe Gans, Alexandre Aja, Philippe Rouyer, Jean-Jacques Bernard, Christophe Lemaire

Review By Greg Klymkiw

It is said that in 1897, famed magician and father of fantastical cinema Georges Méliès (legendary director of A Trip to the Moon and dramatized in Martin Scorsese's Hugo), directed a film so horrifying and powerful that some believed it to be possessed by a demonic force so abominable that it forced audiences into rages of an unholy nature. Thought to have be lost, if not outright destroyed, a print of the film surfaced in 2012. Screened for a select audience, the film inspired similar violent outbursts.

A group of contemporary filmmakers and cineastes were assembled to provide their feedback for La Rage du Démon. Alas, it turns out to be much ado about nothing. The film is such a lame mockumentary, that most of the interviewed subjects aren't able to pull off the charade with anything resembling believability. Worse yet, the mostly dull talking heads affair reveals not much of anything. There are several Méliès clips used with some perfunctory archival footage, but we never buy any of it for a second.

There's never an attempt to provide clips from the abomination itself, presumably because they're too horrifying, but mostly because this woeful low budget affair would not have been able to afford such recreations.

What we're left with is the promise of what might have been a great horror film - a pure shuddery fiction a la Hugo, but sans anything resembling "feel good". This poor, pointless mockumentary leaves us wondering if there ever will be a great picture made within the premise of a long-dead genius having made a deal with Satan, thus delivering a film so infused with evil that its audiences become minions of the diseased pieces of light flickered upon the screen.

La Rage du Démon is not it, but we're allowed to dream about it. Maybe one of the great filmmakers forced into the mock interviews here will deliver the goods.


La Rage du Démon enjoys its North American premiere at Fantasia 2016