Creepy and well-produced horror anthology film successfully reassembled from a French television series. Ghouls, ghosts, undead, jinn, aliens, and a murderous doll: brilliant!
I love a good horror anthology film, and now I’ve found a new one: Dark Stories was compiled from a French TV series, with one of the episodes reformatted as a wraparound story, and it is very entertaining.
In “Le festin des goules” (directed by Guillaume Lubrano), Alice (Delphine Chanéac, Splice) battles ghouls to save her young son in a sophisticated art gallery. Very suspenseful, with delightful special effects reminiscent of Ghostbusters.
“Le Parc” (also directed by Lubrano) sees Sophie (Dorylia Calmel) haunted by murdered children after a regular evening run. Lovely chemistry between her and the running novice she bumps into, and once the fog settles on the park, the story becomes truly chilling.
“Mort mais vivant (again directed by Lubrano) is about a morgue attendant and a newly awakened corpse (Sébastien Lalanne) he befriends. This one is a great blend of gruesome and exciting, with a murder mystery combined with supernatural thrills.
And then there’s the scariest of the lot, “Boughtat” (directed by François Descraques), in which a young woman (Tiphaine Daviot) is plagued by a jinn – or is it sleep paralysis? – since her return from Morocco. Much better than the full-length Mara, on the same subject.
Finally, “Le jugement dernier” (also directed by Descraques), in which Jean-Luc Barrouf (the fabulous Dominique Pinon, Delicatessen) claims only those who believe he is the savior will be spared when the aliens return.
All these stories are told by Christine (Kristanna Loken, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) who has been tied up in the basement of her home by a mad, knife-wielding puppet. She’s keeping him occupied until her boy upstairs is ready to wake…
Some anthology films can be downright patchy. But not this one. Each of the Dark Stories is tightly plotted, beautifully produced, and suspenseful in its own way; they all work together well, despite the variation in subject matter and tone. Oh and an excellent cast! It doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be another Creepshow or Southbound, but a collection all of its own character. All the above, in 75 minutes. Dark Stories is a new discovery I’m going to recommend.
This review was filed from FrightFest 2020. You can check out all of our coverage on the festival by clicking these words.