CHRISTOPHER ROTH *** Belgium / Italy 2010 Dir: Maxime Alexandre
Joaquim De Almeida has been writing the same kind of thrillers for 20 years, reaping financial rewards but shit reviews and the urge to write about Serious Themes. Agent Ben Gazzara recommends he takes a trip with his wife, and urges him to return with “the most evil fucker your fans have ever read”. Sick of writing violent stories with surprise endings, he takes refuge in Umbria, Italy, where a serial killer nicknamed The Boar is on the prowl, offing horny young couples in parked cars and mailing De Almeida with the details.
A well made but ultimately ordinary horror-thriller weighed down by the clumsy narration of its protagonist: although designed to mimic his novels, the voiceover dilutes the overall effect. The strongest facet of CHRISTOPHER ROTH is the FX work by Gianetto De Rossi: the killer has a nasty habit of blinding his victims with blades and inserting hooks through their faces, allowing for a range of nastiness. One shower scene precedes an especially well done bathroom stalk-and-kill featuring a bloody throat slash in the vein of De Rossi’s work on HAUTE TENSION. Our hero and his wife wind up strung up in the torture movie tradition by the disfigured villain and his family but the movie, despite pretensions to the contrary, turns into a fairly standard psycho killer flick long before this point.
Review by Steven West