In Margaux, a sensible house turns right into a nightmare for a gaggle of faculty buddies who’re spending one final bonding weekend collectively earlier than commencement thrusts them into the unknown of maturity.
Whereas the “final weekend” arrange is the staple meals of the group horror flick (And Then There Was None (1945) all the way in which to present choices like Host (2020)) don’t let that idiot you into suppose it’s a boring idea.
Whereas the film sticks to the acquainted trope of “ One Down, (insert variety of folks right here), To Go”, the film itself has sufficient originality to push it previous the mundane. To begin with, not one of the core group are ridiculous caricatures of what’s often concerned within the horror group dynamic.
Certain, there are ghosts of those figures, however not sufficient to make them appear overly cartoony. There isn’t the quintessential archetypes like: the whore, the athlete, the scholar, the idiot, and the virgin, as an alternative, there may be the essence of all inside every member of the pal group that provides it a sure refreshing depth.
These buddies are certain collectively from a single time period (Freshman 12 months) and a single commonality (STEM youngsters) that units the stage for his or her connection, and whereas that connection is talked about just a few instances all through the film, it isn’t used to govern the viewers into caring in regards to the characters as its sole objective.
For all intents and functions, it’s merely the glue that explains why this final weekend is so vital to every of them.
The one actual overtly stereotypical character, the Idiot so to talk (and it isn’t within the realm of annoying fortunately), Clay (Richard Harmon; The Killing, The 100), at first comes off as essentially the most fundamental of Stoner Dude, however he does have a really candy smartness to him that doesn’t make him really feel like the standard throwaway character. Actually, it’s his buzzed-to-hide-his-loneliness character that annoys the home to no finish and offers a darkish humor that’s, oftentimes, excluded from conventional horror. Clay loves his weed, however it’s apparent that his “puff-puff-no-pass” hides a deep disappointment and eager for a romantic companion that lies simply on the floor.
Whereas the character of “The Idiot” doesn’t all the time elicit a robust emotion when they’re being stalked and murdered due to a normal shallowness of that archetype, Harmon’s Clay does handle to realize the unattainable in being a totally shaped character. There have solely been just a few handful of “Idiot” characters that I’ve actually loved (Fran Kranz’s Marty from Cabin within the Woods being the standout in that division) and Clay is considered one of them.
The remainder of the pal group is made up of: Hannah (Madison Pettis; American Pie Presents: Women’ Guidelines), Drew (Jedidiah Goodacre; Disney’s Descendants 2 and three), Kayla (Phoebe Miu; Andie the Nice), Devon (Jordan Buhat; grown-ish) and group drop-in/nemesis Lexi (Vanessa Morgan; Riverdale) all of whom give good, strong performances and create a pal/frenemy dynamic that enables the story to hit all the best group horror film plot factors.
The interactions between the group appear real; Lexi, because the film’s Bitch Lady, embodies the passive-aggressive outsider and, when drunk, the required blunt chick completely, permitting Morgan to essentially sink her enamel into the position of Lexi wholeheartedly. Whereas most Bitch Lady characters get what’s coming to them, there’s a sure punch to Lexi’s comeuppance that’s directly satisfying and hilarious. Kayla and Devon, the resident “Couple” whose love and lust for each other could be very candy, additionally manages to eschew the customary character trope because of chemistry between Miu and Buhat and writing that doesn’t appear to see a monogamous college-age relationship as bizarre. You genuinely see these characters collectively which makes what the home does with them extra surprising. Drew and Hannah’s characters have clearly been into each other for years, regardless that Drew is relationship tremendous social media influencer Lexi, and their flirtations are palpable sufficient to drive house that they need to be collectively. Like numerous divergences that occur character-wise on this film (which I really recognize) their storyline is fascinating and doesn’t observe the standard norms. Truths which can be unveiled really feel actual; you actually do care about them, and wish them to win with out feeling like you’re compelled to.
Now for the actual wow issue of the film. A lot reward ought to go to Susan Bennett who voices the home, Margaux, and offers a crazy-amazing efficiency. Significantly, the home is not only the BIG BAD, it’s a totally shaped character with intelligence, excellent cadence and a character all it’s personal. If A.I. will get up to now, I do know that Margaux could be working Skynet and he or she would fortunately homicide us. She is a cross between serial killer Aileen Wuornos and the online game Portal’s GLaDOS – and no, I’m not kidding. Bennett not solely portrays Margaux as an actual “individual” however as somebody who thinks humanity is mainly one large asshole (regardless that she kinda needs to be considered one of us) and when she’s coping with people, she makes positive to be as sarcastic in her method and dialect as she will presumably be. Mainly, she needs to study us whereas shoving our banality in our faces all on the identical time.
Margaux is a extremely enjoyable film.
Whereas it doesn’t break new floor within the style, it does play with it in an fascinating and considerate approach. The violence isn’t overly gross and reserves the actual bloody stuff for one or two shocks that don’t really feel compelled, and the deaths (and near-deaths) are strong. It’s a very “gentle” film. Many of the unhealthy stuff occurs when its shiny and sunny out (in a home that’s virtually completely made from home windows you’re going to get numerous daylight) which is a pleasant change of tempo, and the entire character really feel actual, which once more, is one thing that you just don’t all the time get in a group-centered horror film.
I extremely suggest it for any horror fan who simply needs to be entertained and never utterly grossed out.
* * * * *
Produced by Jamie Goehring, Brad Krevoy, Mick MacKay
Written by Chris Beyrooty, Nick Waters, Chris Sivertson
Directed by Steven C. Miller
Starring Brittany Mitchell, Jedidiah Goodacre, Jordan Buhat, Lochlyn Munro,
Louis Lay, Madison Pettis, Phoebe Miu, Richard Harmon, Vanessa Morgan