DIRECTOR Robin Entreinger WRITER Robin Entreinger; Jean-Nicolas Laurent STARS Alexandra Bialy; Valentin Bonhomme; Mathieu Coniglio SCREENING Today at 15.15 and tomorrow at 23.15
The first scene of Sadik 2 shows amateur filmmaker and movie nerd Marco opening a suitcase and revealing it to be packed full of VHS horror movie tapes, then launching into a speech about loathing the digital age. This would appear to be a metaphor for director Robin Entreinger’s view and approach: his film is firmly grounded in the 80s, a decade from which he appears to take all of his cues. Five kids head to a remote location in the hills to party and celebrate the New Year. At night, drunk and swapping stories, one tells about how he accidentally killed a caretaker when younger, setting him on fire and watching him die. Sound familiar?
Except it isn’t, because at the halfway point Sadik 2 pulls the rug out from under your feet and completely changes focus. To reveal is to destroy any enjoyment, but let us say that reality television plays a major part in the construction of this story. And like Scream, Sadik 2 wants to point a finger at the horror movie, to break it down and examine it. Unlike Wes Craven’s classic, however, this feels totally out of date, especially with more recent and similar fare such as Cabin in the Woods. There are a lot of references to spot, and if you’re a fan of the genre it’s impossible not to enjoy hearing characters debating the merits of Cannibal Holocaust and Dawn of the Dead. But you’ve seen this film before, dozens of times, and while Entreinger is banking on his audience being as self-referential and knowing as he is, that’s also his downfall: you know what is going to happen.
The major issue is that the first act is painfully slow, littered with Gallic humour almost certainly lost in translation and a cast you won’t particularly care for. It’s a chore, and with a sparse 75-minute run-time it shouldn’t be, especially when one’s major enjoyment, and the reason the audience is investing their time, is for the effective payoff the second half brings. While Entreinger does have something to say on the nature of violence and those who watch it, and certainly the disconnected ways in which torture and the treatment of humans is displayed may make some feel uncomfortable about their own voyeuristic tendencies, it’s impossible not to wish this was in the hands of a more accomplished filmmaker such as Michael Haneke, who has tackled these themes several times and to greater effect.