★★, MOTELx, Reviews
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MOTELx Quick Review: Among the Living (2014)

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  • Directed by:   Alexandre Bustillo and  Julien Maury
  • With:  Anne Marivin, Théo Fernandez, Francis Renaud
  • 90 Minutes

The next movie I’ve decided to talk about is also focused in the “home invasion” genre and was a really intense journey that only failed in being captivating and surprising. Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and  Julien Maury, Among the Living was one of the French movies picked by the organization of the festival to be part of their selection. The story starts with a very dark atmosphere and perhaps during the entire length of the movie, there are only some very specific moments in which there’s no intensity at all. Intriguing? Well, even though I felt a bit lost there were some clear attempts to make the movie work but the “home invasion” genre was explored so many times throughout the years that I think that the surprise factor is needed for sure and that is a flaw of this movie.

When three kids, Victor, Dan and Tom, decide to skip their last classes to spend the day in a closed and abandoned amusement park, they are confronted with a horrifying vision: a woman in chains dragged by a man with a mask. A clear sign of danger that wasn’t enough to prevent the boys from investigating what was going on. When they arrive to the place the woman was dragged to and they realize they were seen, they ran away from the park but unfortunately for them their lives are now in danger because the vicious and evil man with the mask does not wish to be found. Just like in “The boy who cried wolf”, the three friends will try to find help by telling what happened to the police and to their families but no one believes them so in the end, their lives just depend on themselves.

While the characters work really well and while we feel the friendship between the three kids, the story of the villains is somehow hard to understand and I only felt a bit of intensity in the last act of the movie. Although the story isn’t bad, Among the Living is incapable of provoking and frightening the audience because the darker scenes simply aren’t that effective. The kids’ development, from courageous to afraid, is a good strategy to keep everyone interesting and the story at first is surrounded by mystery and uncertainty. The quick change from mysterious to violent and brutal is, in my opinion, a bit disappointing because I was starting to enjoy the slow pace and mystery and the only thing I got in the finale was blood and death. Among the Living works for the fans of the genre but isn’t much of a surprise and in a selection filled with great movies, this was probably the one I enjoyed the least. Sure it’s unconventional and brutal but it’s far from being on my preferences.

★★½

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