the mansion | le manoir | tony t. datis | marc jarousseau | dominique gauriaud | bernardo barilli | jurij prette | nathalie odzierejko | ludovik day | comedy | france | belgium | jerome niel | mister v | vincent tirel | vanessa guide | delphine baril | baptiste lorber
Film: The Mansion (Le manoir)
Director: Tony T. Datis
Writer: Marc Jarousseau, Dominique Gauriaud, Bernardo Barilli and Jurij Prette
Starring: Marc Jarousseau, Nathalie Odzierejko and Ludovik Day
This was a film that I originally heard about when it was making its festival rounds and some podcasts I listen to had reviewed it. I decided to check it out during my round-up of 2018 films during the month of December. I did come in as blind as I possible could as well. The official synopsis is a band of students come to celebrate the New Year in an old manor house isolated from everything. But soon after their arrival, strange events disrupt the atmosphere, before the party turns squarely to the nightmare.
We kick off with a maid that is freaked out about something. She goes to flee and she is then killed. It then shifts to New Year’s Eve. We have a group of college students, who are about to go their separate ways coming to a mansion in the middle of nowhere to celebrate. Nadine (Nathalie Odzierejko) is the one that found the place and planned it. Her boyfriend is along, Fabrice (Marc Jarousseau). They also have a dog named Kitty.
The group also includes Bruno (Ludovik Day) who is a nerdy, momma’s boy. Jess (Delphine Baril) appears to be in training to be a police officer and is into some kinky things. Djamal (Mister V) is an aspiring actor with dreams of moving to Hollywood. Drazic (Vincent Tirel) is the drug user of the group and brought a suitcase full of his stash. Sam (Vanessa Guide) is there with her ex-boyfriend, Stéphanie (Jérôme Niel). She is quite promiscuous and he is controlling. The group is completed by Charlotte (Lila Lacombe), who is quiet and the cousin of Sam.
We get introduced to each character in their room as they head down for dinner. It is a themed party, but Steph doesn’t participant. Everyone starts to drink as they ring in the New Year. Bruno gets sick and throws up. He goes out to get air and finds the head of Kitty. Nadine catches it and she freaks out. Also at this time, Drazic gets Charlotte high with a cupcake and she wanders off into the woods. They were told not to go into them per the owner’s request.
Things start to take a turn though when they go to find the missing Charlotte. Another guy, Enzo shows up and a strange figure in a skull with elk horns is stalking them. The past of this place must be uncovered to figure out who the masked figure actually is and why they are killing everyone off.
I do have to say that this film does have some good aspects to it. I like that setting and the concept. Being isolated out in the middle of nowhere is pretty creepy. The house they are in is huge and we learn that there are some secret passageways in it as well, which can make it even more deadly. It also is isolated, which helps to do away with cellphones.
Something else that was good with this film is the dynamic among the characters. We see that they are a group of friends, but there is that melancholy that this could be the last time they are all together. On top of that though, not every character is who they seem. The film does well at portraying some red herrings to the truth and I even have to give credit, I didn’t see the twist coming. When it was revealed, everything clicked.
The major problem I had with this film though was that it was too much comedy. I did like some of it. Drazic cracked me up. I thought he was quite hilarious and just his reactions. The film though struggled to build tension, because it seemed to want to be more of a comedy than horror. This is fine, but not really my cup of tea. I thought it had the potential to mesh the two more and it decided not to.
Building off that, I think it has some pacing issues. The film meandered for me and I think a lot of that came from the film has a horror film feel while being funny. It takes too long to get us to the horror elements. Once it finally gets there, I was actually on board. I thought the twist was good and the ending was fitting for the rest of the film.
Acting was also pretty solid for the film as well. Jarousseau and Odzierejko I thought were fine in their roles. Fabrice gives kind of a heartwarming speech which makes the ending all that much more interesting. Odzierejko I felt bad for with what happened to her dog. Her in the end is another thing that I thought was intriguing. Day was funny, but his gag gets a little bit repetitive by the end. He was solid though in his character arch. Neil is a psycho and I think it is good for a film like this. How much it is contained, I think you need this hothead as it helps the mystery. Mister V was fine for his role. Tirel was my favorite and he cracked me up. Guide was easy on the eyes and her character was fine. Baril and Lacombe I also thought were both good in their roles as well.
The effects for the film I didn’t really have any issues with either. I do believe we get some CGI blood, but there’s not a lot of it. I actually don’t really recall a lot in the way of effects. There are some things that are induced by taking drugs, but those look just fine to me. I would have to say that overall the effects are decent, but this is mostly to just a lack of them that stuck out.
Now with that said, this film could have been better for me. Many of you that follow me will know that I’m not the biggest fan of horror/comedies, but I have come around to the ones that do it right. This film unfortunately focused too much on the comedy portion of that. I do think this actually hurt the pacing of the film. The film did have a good story, concept and setting. The twist that happened I didn’t see coming and thought it was good. The acting was solid and the effects were fine for what they needed. The score didn’t stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film. I will say that this film is slightly above average for me and I did enjoy it. If this sounds intriguing, I would recommend it especially if you like horror/comedies. I will warn you though; this film is from France and Belgium. I had to watch it with subtitles, so if that is an issue, I’d recommend avoiding this one.
My Rating: 6 out of 10