This time out, it’s a change of pace with another European film for your Favorite Catgirl, specifically 2009’s French Slasher Film, “Vertige”. Recently out on Region 2 DVD release over in the UK, it wasn’t long before Neko snagged a copy for her very own collection. With all that nifty rock climbing and mountaineering right out of “Cliffhanger”…. and a psychotic freaky killer on the prowl to keep things lively…. this certainly sounds like your Favorite Catgirl’s idea of fun and games for a movie night. Oh yes, indeed it does…..
Our synopsis for it goes like this: “To satisfy their thirst for “extreme sports” adventure, a group of friends decide to go on a rock climbing expedition in Croatia. What begins as a carefree outing in the countryside soon turns into something darker as old feelings resurface and a fear of heights grips some members of the party. Then they realize that they are not alone. Their dream holiday together is about to become a terrible nightmare…”
I know I’m usually watching something Asian lately, (Well… truthfully, most of the time…. Hehehehe!!) and it has been a while since a European film clawed it’s way to the top of my “To Watch” list, so hopefully this will be a good one to break up my routine with. If you think it just might be the sort of thing that might make you yodel with guilty joy too, then naturally you’ll wanna “Read On!” and find out all the details for yourself….
Pssst!!! That’s your cue, silly!! Hehehehe!!
As with many films using this tried and true old formula, we start out with a quick introduction to our cast of victims… errrr, ummm…. I mean characters…. your token bunch of sporty French 20 somethings fresh out of college, but just too darn frisky for settling down in the real world with boring jobs and the like. Before they’ll let all that stuff break them apart, Karine, Fred, Loic, and Chloe have decided they’re gonna have to take one last adventure together. A mountaineering trip to the wilds of rural Croatia with our main heroine Chloe’s ex-boyfriend Guillaume along just to make things frosty and strained between him, Chloe, and the… how shall we say… less than “Alpine Inclined” Loic, her current boyfriend. Ummmm…. yeah, now THAT sounds fun and restful. Trust me, that’s just the sort of vacation trip every girl dreams of…..
Thank goodness there is gonna be a wee lil’ unexpected run-in with a crazed antisocial freak-show hermit guy to break up all that… errr… ahhh… fun. I wish I could say you’ll spend this movie getting all sympathetic with our heroine Chloe as she tries to not alienate Loic (or show his poor un-skilled butt up with her seriously mad climbing skills) and not let herself get too involved with ex-boyfriend Guillaume again and blow things with her current guy…… but you wont. There just isn’t any real character development here to let you get that comfy with any of the cast. About all we do get in the way of background stuff are some flashbacks of Chloe in a hospital setting…. and a terrible death she either witnessed…. or caused accidentally…. or just plain couldn’t prevent. (We never do learn what exactly happened… but we’re supposed to know it was pretty traumatic for poor Chloe.) As it turns out… with all the nasty bear-traps scattered about the landscape, and all our killer’s booby-trapping of the climbing trail it’s a good thing somebody knows more than a little first aid. What about helpful Croatian Forest Rangers you ask? Nope… not when you and your group have stupidly let all that macho “testosterone-y” stuff between Loic and Guillaume trick you into ignoring the “Closed Trail” markers you found at the beginning of the climb….. Do’hh!!
Hmmmm…. Before you get the impression that your Favorite Catgirl was completely less than impressed with this one, I can say that although there are no surprises in store, at least “Vertige” does stick to the formula closely enough for all the expected wilderness slasher hijinx to be somewhat amusing if not shocking. Our crazed killer, Anton, knows these woods like the back of his scarred hand and by golly…. it’s his mountain and nobody’s gonna climb it except for him!! Or else….. He gets our little group lost, leading them astray and picking them off one by one till only Chloe, Loic, and Guillaume are left to discover his lair way high up in a deserted cabin where naturally the stupid rivalry between our heroes means that survival is completely left in our heroine’s hands.
Does anybody make it? Well Neko’s not gonna spoil things for you if you might want to watch it yourself, but like I said… this one knows the “slasher” formula and sticks to it like pitons to a rock-face so you can probably guess where it’ll end up, right?
While not the most original film I’ve watched in a while, it did have some gorgeous visual moments…. (Oooooohhh!!! Mountains pretty!!) and decent stunt work with an effort to be commercial and appealing as a horror movie could be. The lack of characterization even means that this one will probably sell well in most every market as a simple dubbing can have our characters standing in as any nationality in Europe or North America transforming this from a “French” import film to a “domestic” one just like magic. Carolyn, who finds my fascination with “foreign” film fare somewhat tiring at times, liked it moderately well, even with the subtitles. Neko, however can really give this one more than a middle of the road 3 “Meows” out of 5, as it just wasn’t that…. well… special a film. It’s merely a chewy lil’ hamburger of a movie from a country more known for it’s Filet Mignon…… “Frontiers” was a better, crazier effort from France and I’d start there if you wanted a “French” horror movie. But…. later this month the UK releases “Le Horde”, so there will definitely be more French horror in this lil’ Catgirl’s future, that’s for sure!! (And of course, Ill be here at the Litterbox to tell you all about it….)
As usual, there’s a suitable trailer lurking around Youtube, and here it is!!