Director -Claire Denis
Cast – Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Beatrice Dalle, Alex Descas, Florence Loiret Caille
Release Year – 2001
Reviewed by John of the Dead
While looking for cannibal horror films I came across this French effort, Trouble Every Day, and despite not really knowing what to expect I went in with an expectation of enjoyment, but sadly that was only partially achieved on my end. We get an interesting story that results in this not being a devout horror effort, but mostly-positive direction and awesome execution of the cannibal scenes make for an OK watch in the end, so long as you know what you are getting into.
Shane(Vincent Gallo) and June Brown, a recently married American couple, take a honeymoon trip to Paris to embark on their new life together, which also consists of Shane’s obsessive interest in a Paris medical lab experimenting with new-age studies of the human libido. When Shane’s effort to track down a leading expert in the field results in him coming across the expert’s wife, a woman whose condition has forced her husband to imprison her due to her dangerous habit of consuming those she lusts over, the resulting chaos and shocking events that follow lead Shane to the path of marital enlightenment he has been looking for.
When I read the plot for this film I also (as you most likely just did) thought to myself “OK…huh?”, and hoped that the element of horror would be high enough for me to get what I came for, and thankfully it did. I must say though that for the vast majority of the film the horror takes a backseat to whatever else is going on in this zany storyline, but when the horror does kick it in kicks you in face, again and again and again.
Despite the film opening with a subtle sequence of cannibal action, it takes a lot of relationship nonsense before we are introduced to the next bit of horror, a whole 50 minutes later. The storyline plays heavily on the odd relationship between Shane and June, and I personally cared little for this due to how bland and sometimes confusing it was. We are left in the dark through most of the film in regards to what the hell the film is even about, and I personally found no favor in that on this occasion. It could have to do with the very minimal amount of dialogue in this piece, with a few short lines coming in here and there roughly 5-10 minutes apart, which means that for most of the experience we are just watching our protagonists go about their boring business without a clue as to what they are doing and why they are doing it. Those of you looking for a “different” and unique experience may enjoy that, but as far as my enjoyment and the horror element (this IS a site dedicated to the horror side of things) I was not pleased with this story.
Director Claire Denis did OK with her overall execution of this piece, managing to keep part of me interested in what was going on during the film’s overly long and poorly paced downtimes, and definitely showing her directing talent when the horror kicked in. Honestly, I can say that for the most part the horror really made up for the lack of enjoyment I was faced with during the other 80% of the film, which only made me wish this was a devout horror effort as it most likely would have been an incredible one and a supreme effort overall. Denis gives us a very full-frontal approach to the cannibalism, employing copious amounts of live action gore and not shying away from the subject matter written into the film, including one scene sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone associated with the art/act of cunnilingus. We get good performances from our actors, with each of them forced to deliver polar opposite emotions of both love and carnage, especially Inside protagonist Beatrice Dalle as the main cannibal in this piece. The atmosphere and settings were decent, although I really expected better for a French film given their numerous resources for sets and the fact that most other French horror films have much better atmosphere. Nonetheless, I applaud Ms. Denis for doing what she could, and giving me a pseudo-horror film that came heavy on the horror, despite it coming in small portions.
Overall, Trouble Every Day is a decent watch that despite not being an outright horror flick definitely gives us some of the best and most well executed cannibal horror I have seen in a very long time. The storyline overall is a bit of a drag and may not appeal to most (it did not to me), but the horror alone somewhat makes up for that. I cannot say that I recommend this film under normal circumstances, but on a night with nothing else to watch I would recommend you check this one out just for the horror.