Director: Fabrice Du Welz (2008)
Starring: Emmanuelle Beart, Rufus Sewell
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Classy cannibal horror for the broadsheet crowd. By which I mean, it's not properly horror and it's not strictly about cannibals. But it is kinda scary and someone does get their gut chomped. My point being that you can pick up a copy of Vinyan alongside your Guardian newspaper and nobody will bat an eyelid.

It stars Rufus Sewell and Emmanuelle Beart, who are always quite popular amongst the Guardian readers. Set in post-tsunami Thailand, it has them playing a married couple searching for their missing child. Lost, presumed dead in the aftermath of the tsunami, he's apparently sighted in Burma. Mummy and Daddy mount an ill-advised and very expensive search, which takes them deep into the dangerous jungle. Careful, thar be cannibals. Sort of.

It's nice to see a jungle cannibal movie that follows a different school of thought from the usual "they're savages... no wait, we're the savages" stuff, which had already been done to death by the mid 1980s. Vinyan takes a more personal approach. The parents have their own issues, see - and what they find in the jungle really accentuates that, slowly turning Mom and Pop against each other. There's tension from the start, but nothing strains a marriage like a jungle full of cannibals.

It's a bit of a slow burner in that the emphasis is firmly on Ma and Pa than everything else. And cannibals aren't the only threat - they're led deeper and deeper into the jungle by ominous seeming gangsters that we - and they - trust less and less. By the time that things take a turn for the worse(r), we're in little doubt that Mother and Father are utterly fucked. At this point, the movie has accumulated a deeply unsettling vibe. There's hardly any gore or violence at all, but rather a nightmarish streak of dread that says something like no, this can't end well.

I thoroughly recommend Vinyan alongside the less subtle cannibal classics. It's a sad, bleak but rewarding bit of jungle grue. All that and not a handheld video camera in sight.

1 comment:

  1. Great review for a super-underrated movie! There are so many negative Vinyan-reviews out there, it's almost insane :-/