Friday, April 24, 2009

Sur le seuil

Shot without much style, Evil Words (name in English) is just one of those films made by a Hollywood wannabe. As a horror film, Evil Words is dull and it doesn't make us shiver as much as the novel, which was written by Patrick Senécal, effectively did. All in all, this film looks like a complete parody of the novel of the same name because the script has no efficiency at all.

Thomas Roy (Patrick Huard) is a famous horror writer who attempted to commit a suicide the day after a policeman shot without reason children visiting the Montreal Olympic Stadium. Because he represents such a complex case, the Montreal Police Department transfers Roy to a psychiatric institute. He'll be taken in charge by Dr. Paul Lacasse (Michel Côté), an old psychiatrist who lost any passion for his job, and and Dr. Jeanne Marcoux (Catherine Florent), a young psychiatrist who believes that psychiatry can save people.

Eventually, Paul and Jeanne discover that a few days before the shooting at the Montreal Olympic Stadium, Roy had written a draft copy of his next novel while they believed that Roy no longer wanted to write. Besides, this draft copy tells the story of a police officer shooting without reason at kids in a heartbreak. Since Roy doesn't want to tell what's going on with him, Paul decides to lead a personal investigation (by even going back to Thomas Roy's birth date) to understand what happened to this writer. After all, did Thomas Roy try to commit suicide because he felt animated by evil in its purest form?

Éric Tessier's attempt to adapt an acclaimed novel about unexplained dementia is a real mess. The script that we see in the film got seriously sliced for the pace's sake, but the pace is still damn slow. Since the film is about unexplained dementia, Tessier took the bad decision to take out Paul's and Jeanne's scientific argumentations and hypothesis from the most crucial conversation scenes that we saw in the novel (and these scenes made it brilliant). In fact, the novel had the merit of looking like a creative work supported by serious research about the milieu of psychiatry. Therefore, one has the bitter feeling that the film is dumbed down for no reason.

As a result of that, Sur le seuil loses any pretention to credibility, because we have the feeling to be left with characters who don't try hard (unlike in the novel) to understand Thomas Roy's weirdness. This goes without saying that Michel Côté (Le dernier tunnel) and Catherine Florent, despite their bland hardwork, don't even look like psychiatrists. Instead, we just have three characters who let themselves be carried by a very predictable script mared by unnatural one-liners. Moreover, the script becomes even more predictable when it tips you off about what's going to happen at the end.

Finally, I'm not going to waste anymore of my time to tell you how this film looks amateurish with the really uninspiring and bland performance from the cast. The only actor who seems to be doing a job is Jean L'Italien, as the celebrity journalist named Charles Monette. In fact, if you have a prejudice that the acting in webseries are cold, watch this film "à vos risques et périls" and prepare to be extremely bored to death.

Rating: 1/5

Origin:Canada (2003)
Length:100 minutes
Screenplay:Éric Tessier
Director:Éric Tessier
Michel Côté, Patrick Huard, Catherine Florent, Jean L'Italien and Albert Millaire

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