5150 Rue des ormes [5150, Elm Street] (2009)

<strong class="MovieTitle">5150 Rue des ormes</strong> [<strong class="MovieTitle">5150, Elm Street</strong>] (2009)

(In theatres, October 2009) I’m not going to be particularly objective in reviewing this film: Screenwriter Patrick Senécal (adapting his own novel) has been a good acquaintance of mine for years, I obtained tickets to the premier via a network of friendly contacts and I’ve got distant financial ties to the publisher of the original novel. Yeah, I’m biased. Still, it’s fun being biased when the movie being discussed is an accomplished piece of work like this one: a tight claustrophobic thriller, 5150 rue des Ormes manages to be a fair adaptation and a successful film on its own. The story of a teenager who gets trapped inside an ordinary family house by a psychotic man and his accomplice family, this is a thriller that means to lock you in a suburban dungeon along with an average protagonist. It gets much weirder than that, of course, especially when the true nature of the family patriarch’s madness is revealed, and when the hero comes to buy into his twisted rules. Some of the first hour is annoying: those who are expecting an action movie will be frustrated at the hero’s inability to grab a rifle, assault his captors or fiddle his way out of his dungeon. But this is a psychological thriller, not a shoot’em-up, and so we have to buy into some of the uncomfortable staging in order to get to the real core of the story. Fortunately, director Eric Tessier keeps things moving at a decent pace, and he can depend on a number of capable actors: Normand D’Amour is particularly effective as the evil patriarch, a thankless role on which much of the film depends. It all leads to an increasingly grotesque third act, and a deliberately unsatisfying conclusion that refuses to tie up all the threads. (Senécal fans already know that one of the characters missing in action eventually gets a sequel of sorts.) While not above a few credibility problems (duration of batteries in the video camera, length of beard, DNA evidence left at the scene of a murder, etc.), 5150 rue des Ormes is another solid thriller made-in-Quebec but fit to be seen anywhere on the planet.

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