Resonnances DVD Review
Written by ZigZag
DVD released by Synapse Films
Written and directed by Philippe Robert
2006, Region 1 (NTSC), 83 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on December 14th, 2010
Vincent Lecompte as Vincent
Patrick Mons as Sebastien
Yann Sundberg as Yann
Romain Ogerau as Thomas
Marjorie Dubesset as Elodie
Sophie Michard as Karine
Johanna Andraos as Tina
Once upon a time, in 17th-century France, a woman witnessed a meteor fall from the sky, and was soon consumed by the inhabitant of the space rock. She became an urban legend to contemporary youth, known as the “Lady in White” and reportedly haunts a stretch of road near the site of her death. 400 years later, three friends - Thomas, Yann, and Vincent - are going to meet some girls at a barbeque and then party at a mountaintop nightclub.
Karine is Yann’s laid-back girlfriend who invites the guys out for a triple date with her friends Elodie and Tina, and while there is immediate chemistry for two of the three couples, Vincent is more concerned with playing video games than sparing any attention for his blind date that he rudely refers to as “Tuna”. The group decides to drive separately to the club and before long the guys have gotten lost in a thick fog bank and ultimately run out of gas along a notoriously haunted stretch of road.
Pushing the car to the nearest gas station, the trio meets a mysterious hitchhiker, and agrees to give him a ride. It is here that the film begins throwing curves at the audience by introducing a number of red herrings, including warnings of an escaped psychopath from the local prison and inclement weather. While both of these elements come into play, the bulk of the feature is set within the woods as Yann spots a ghostly apparition along the road and loses control of the vehicle, crashing into a nearby tree. The girls are nowhere to be found and our heroes find themselves in search of their missing dates while stranded with a possible lunatic.
Resonnances is a fun ride that doesn’t let up until the end. There are enough well-played moments throughout the intro that I had no idea where the tale was leading. It is not a spoiler to reveal that this is a monster movie. The monster in question is a (mostly) unseen creature that burrows underground like the Graboids from Tremors, pursuing its victims by the sounds they make. While the comparison between the two films is inevitable, this indie French treat spares no expense in throwing everything at the screen.
The story is large in scope but light on budget. Director Philippe Robert stretches his imagination and pushes the limits of his low-fi computer graphics by incorporating the use of some clever miniature sets within the action. Not all of the effects are equally special, but I will give him credit for trying. Instead of limiting the set-pieces to what was available, the filmmakers are willing to attempt the grander vision and succeed more often than not.
The film’s biggest asset is the solid cast led by the unassuming Vincent Lecompte as Vincent, the hardcore gamer turned monster hunter. Enough emphasis is placed on setting up the other actors as potential leads that when Vincent comes into his own there is a sincerity in the performance to the character arc.
Yann Sundberg (as Yann) is equally strong as the loyal friend who will risk his own life in order to help save his injured buddy, Thomas (Romain Ogerau). Together the two make a believable match for the dangerous Sebastian, played with malicious glee by Patrick Mons. The girls are given much less screen time, but Sophie Michard is especially memorable as Karine, a character who like Vincent, is tougher than immediately presented.
There are plenty of visual effects in this film and, as stated above, they do not all work equally well, but none of the cheesy CGI pulled me out of the experience. The model miniatures are well utilized and are not immediately obvious. Philippe Robert has pulled off an impressive first feature and I look forward to future efforts.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.