Chimères | Movie Review

chimèresAfter directing several successful short films such as. Dead Bones and especially Employé du mois which won the Silver Méliès for Best European Fantastic Short Film at the Trieste Science+Fiction Festival (2012), Swiss director Olivier Beguin is going for his first feature film: Chimères.
Of the new film, which was shot over six weeks in Switzerland, Romania, and Belgium, Beguin directed and wrote the screenplay with Colin Vettier, with whom he previously collaborated on the short film Employé du mois.
Beguin entrusts the acting to actors already well-known in his filmography: Jasna Kohoutova (Naufrage) and Yannick Rosset (Employé du mois, Dead Bones, Naufrage). The two are joined by the British icon of Italian horror cinema, the splendid Catriona MacColl (unforgettable in Fulcian films such as That villa next to the cemetery, ...And you will live in terror! The afterlife and Fear in the City of the Living Dead), here as Alex's mother.

Chimères is a vampire movie with dramatic veins and a very original and convincing script, a different and well-packaged film that rises above the average of the genre, standing out for its originality.
The story sees the close-knit couple Alexandre and Livia take a vacation to Romania to get away from work. Unfortunately for the two, the brief period of relaxation ends tragically when Alexandre is hit by a car in front of the club where he spent the evening with Livia. Saved in extremis, he is given a blood transfusion during the operation. Returning home with his partner, Alexandre complains about his poor health, convincing himself that the blood he received in the Romanian hospital is contaminated. Livia reassures him and stands by him to help him through the bad time.

From a man dedicated to his work as a photographer and a caring lover of his better half to an aggressive and dangerous creature. The viewer of Olivier Beguin's work witnesses this slow transformation of which the protagonist is a victim, aware of his own inexorable psychic and physical change that leads him to convince himself that he is a vampire.
Chimères points to an ambiguous story that embraces vampirism but also madness. Indeed, what is not understandable for much of the film is whether Alexandre has gone mad or whether the infected blood has really turned him into a vampire. The viewer is led to share Livia's emotional states and thoughts.
Doubts about the protagonist's actual nature then fade as the story unfolds to reach their climax during Alex's photo exhibition.
An unexpected twist knocks down assumptions about Alexandre's state of mental health to make way for the horror of certainty.

Thus tortuous paths open up, leading to decay and psychophysical deterioration slowly eroding and wearing away any bond in the couple.
Victim of the gory actions of the new Alexandre in fact is definitely Livia (a very good Jasna Kohoutova) whose reactions in the face of reality cannot but be sympathetic and arouse tenderness. Her love for her man remains intact but becomes only a romantic backdrop for a bloody scenario in a crescendo of violence that results in a strong feeling of revenge in the finale.

Great is the directorial effort of Olivier Beguin, flanked by excellent cinematography (Florian N. Gintenreiter) and persuasive and romantic music by Lorris Gisana. Impeccable special effects by David Scherer embellish and frame precious spaltter scenes.

Chimères participated in the 2013 Ravenna Nightmare Film Fest and was sold at the European Film Market in Berlin. To date it has won three awards: Best Actress to Jasna Kohoutova at the Montevideo Fantàstico Festival; Best Actress at the 14th Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Film Festival; and Best Editing at the Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles. The film is currently in competition at Fantasporto 2014.

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Barbara Torretti
Barbara Torretti
Editor and moderator of the DarkVeins community. Passionate about horror cinema, I also do reviews and interviews pertaining to the film, music and art circuit.

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