Among the Living – France, 2014

 
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Among the Living is a 2014 French horror film written and directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside; Livid; ABCs of Death 2 ‘X is for Xylophone’; Leatherface). The film’s original title is Aux yeux des vivants.

The film stars Béatrice Dalle (Inside; Livid), Anne Marivin, Nicolas Giraud, Francis Renaud, Chloé Coulloud, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Damien Ferdel.

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Three young adolescent friends decide that they want to start their summer vacation early, so they decide to skip the last day of school in favor of having a little fun. Their adventures that day get them into a little trouble, which causes them to wander to an abandoned film studio lot on the edge of town called Blackwood Studios.

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The young boys are horrified when they see a man in a clown mask dragging a chained woman across the lot. They manage to flee and try to get the police involved, only for the police to assume that because the adolescents are only causing more trouble. The adolescents end up going back to their respective homes, unaware that the masked man and his father are planning on taking their revenge on the three friends…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“When Among the Living shifts gears into full-on slasher territory—with the gore to follow, there’s an amazing face slice—who lives and who dies depends on the strength of their family unit. It’s possible only a family willing to go bat for one another could possibly face a father and son so connected, so warped. It’s this section that sees Among the Living at its successful.” Samuel Zimmerman, Fangoria

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“The tension in Among the Living is so thick that it spawned collective coping mechanisms, wherein neighboring strangers locked eyes when they couldn’t bear to look at the screen any longer. The fear in the room was palpable as audience gasps and audible cringes fed off one another, heightening the shared discomfort. This is what makes Bustillo & Maury’s work such a treat.” Zach Gayne, Twitch

Among the Living works quite well in its simplicity and adoration for the ’80s. There’s plenty of creepy/nightmarish imagery on display (best use of a cat door!) yet, to destabilize you, there are some moments you think would be big splatter moments that are surprisingly restrained. Still, Bustillo and Maury push a lot of buttons in what is a classic “clash of families” scenario.” Ryan Turek, Shock Till You Drop

Among the Living comes out looking great, sounding great, and packs in plenty of stark chills including a pregnant woman stabbing her stomach and an infant trapped in a washing machine’s rising waters. Yet that isn’t necessarily enough to qualify it as a recommendable horror movie because much of its motivation is rendered meaningless by a mostly emotionless story.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

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” … a joy to watch (even when you’re viewing it from behind your own splayed fingers). Cinematographer Antoine Sanier completely nails the small-town atmosphere while setting up some truly dazzling reveals. Bustillo and Maury’s film is also something of a homage to the American films they grew up watching…” Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

“Too much is left unanswered here, and not in an ambiguous way, in a slightly lazy way. With a mixed bag of half-baked ideas, bizarre plot-holes in there with some genuinely shocking horror, the pair need to show what the three kids in this most definitely lack: discipline.” Elliot Maguire, UK Horror Scene

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“Bustillo and Maury are masters of both atmosphere and gore. We’re also reminded that a lot of American films with similar production values play it so incredibly safe compared to these guys – without spoiling too much there are casualties you wouldn’t expect.” Evan Dickson, Bloody Disgusting

” … isn’t your standard slasher, being as surprising as it is disturbing, but with a real backwoods American vibe that sets it apart from most Euro-made horrors. It also features some knockout performances from the three young leads, who bring real grit and emotion to their characters…” Peter Fuller, Kult Guy’s Keep

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Aux yeux des vivants poster

Cast and characters:

  • Béatrice Dalle as Jeanne Faucheur
  • Anne Marivin as Julia
  • Nicolas Giraud as Nathan
  • Francis Renaud as Isaac Faucheur
  • Chloé Coulloud as Mila
  • Zacharie Chasseriaud as Tom
  • Damien Ferdel as Dan
  • Théo Fernandez as Victor
  • Fabien Jegoudez as Klarence
  • Sidwell Weber

Trivia:

  • Funding for the film was raised through a successful crowdsourcing campaign.
  • It had its world premiere on 10 March 2014 at the South by Southwest festival.

Wikipedia | IMDb

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