Saturday, October 10, 2015

In short: Le berceau des ombres (2015)

Going by the French horror films most of us know, the genre over there is all poetic, or weird, or so violent and clever it becomes transcendent. Not surprisingly, that’s not really true, and French cinema has its own strain of indie horror films about people, tunnels, and Nazi zombies, running, being dark, and munching guts, respectively.

Okay, in the case of Jacob Jerome’s Le berceau, the zombies aren’t actually Nazi zombies but zombified Nazi experiment victims (or something of the sort), but otherwise, this is a rather typical bit of tunnel horror. A parapsychologist (Matthias Pohl) and his hangers-on are called in to find out where in an underlit tunnel system a worker has disappeared to? Has he been eaten by ghosts? Nope, it was the zombies living in the secret deeper tunnels.

What follows is the usual litany of people screeching, getting zombie-attacked, munched-on, losing incredibly important keys and trying not to get too eaten. The tunnels are dark and grimy, the acting’s not all that good (though not horrible), and there’s little – if anything at all – happening you haven’t seen before, and before that, and even before that. On the positive side, Jerome’s direction is somewhat promising: he does at least know how to pace the film (even if there’s nothing new or even just vaguely interesting in it), avoids most opportunities to be actively boring, and does manage a handful of rather effective suspense sequences that are promising decent films in his future. Which does put Le berceau des ombres at least one or two levels above the sort of thing indie horror all too often means here in Germany where usually, gore is the only thing any film ever promises.

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