SHEITAN (a.k.a. Satan) **** France 2005 Dir: Kim Chapiron. 94 mins
It’s Christmas Eve, and a trio of dumb, horny guys get thrown out of a nightclub, do a “gas and dash” and wind up at the country retreat of a hottie they’ve just met. Soon, they are pestered by madly grinning housekeeper Joseph (Vincent Cassel), who’s fond of racial slurs like “camel rider” and is accompanied by a randy, dog-wanking niece and a hair-obsessed wife preparing for her imminent “birth”.
A uniquely French festive variation on all those post-‘Nam American fucked-up family horror films, this exists purely to pay off its insidiously creepy, long build up with an outrageous, deliciously sick Yuletide punch line. Cassel’s crazed performance is at the core of a broad, blackly funny descent into madness, and the tone waivers between throwaway comic asides and genuinely disturbing details. The sour finale involves a jolly Christmas family gathering and a key character getting his eyes gouged out to entertain a new born baby. Just like Jesus, folks.
Review by Steven West