Rabid Grannies


Dir: Emmanuel Kervyn
Star: Danielle Daven, Anne Marie Fox, Catherine Aymerie, Robert Du Bois

[2] Up until last year, Belgium was synonymous with dullness in films, music and football. Now, all of a sudden, with New Beat and Crazy Love, it's on the map. Rabid Grannies continues the trend - judging by the audience reaction when I saw it, it's the best European horror film in years . It takes place during a family reunion everyone is there to try to crawl into the grandmothers' good books, who are rich and about to snuff it. Everyone, that is, except the black sheep of the family, Christopher, who was sent away in disgrace after being involved in black magic. He sends a peace offering of a carved box - the bad news is that it turns the grannies into demons...

From then on we're deep in Evil Dead, spam-in-a-castle country. The family and staff are slaughtered in astonishingly messy ways : limbs, blood and internal organs fly, an 8-year old is dismembered, a fat guy has his legs eaten when he gets stuck trying to escape, a woman is ground head-first into railings. That the overall effect is entertaining rather than sickening (even the non-horror fan I dragged along enjoyed it) is tribute to the style and directorial stance. An example: a priest blows his head off with a shotgun, unusually not in close-up. Then, a few scenes later we pass the same location and see a gobbet of flesh with a few teeth attached, casually draped over the set...

Sure, there are cliches, there are holes in the plot - you just get no time to think about them and since all the characters are unpleasant, you 'enjoy' their revolting fates. I honestly can't remember the last time I was as sorry to see a film end - partly perhaps because there's little chance of seeing it all again. That the censor won't like it is certain; it's not even "thoughtful" gore a la Hellraiser. Mind you, if Bad Taste can survive..!


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