Man you guys, Sheitan is pretty wacky. For a movie that is outwardly as insane as this, I expected more people to talk about it to me on a daily basis. It's one of those things that should just come up as people are going through the daily motions. Like, "Gee...remember how completely bat shit crazy Vincent Cassel was in Sheitan?" or "Gee...I hope I never meet someone as ugly as Vincent Cassel wearing a wig!" You know, stuff like that. Since I'm of the mind set that French horror films are fantastic, I'm still surprised that Sheitan doesn't get brought up more. Sure it has its faults but hellooo so does Haute Tension. I mean really what's the deal? See this and you will get nightmares on more than one account, I guarantee it.
Sheitan is about a group of real little assholes, who think they run whatever part of France they are in by bombing around in their squat Volkswagen, and listening to French rap music really, really loudly. They also shoplift, go to clubs where someone like this is the DJ,
and get in fights on a daily basis. After bringing resident hottie Eve to her countryside home, the group meets Joseph, the extremely wacky, ambiguously gay (?) house keeper. After awhile it becomes very apparent that something much more sinister is in store for the group.
I wasn't surprised to see that Vincent Cassel was in this. He is in every French movie ever made, and plays a French man in any movies that the US needs him in--like Oceans Twelve. I was however quite shocked to find that he looked like this.
I hardly recognized him! To think that only a few months previous to this I saw him playing a sexy, hot-headed ladies man in Irreversible. I don't know how to feel about Vincent Cassel. Many have asserted that he "over acts" in this but honestly I don't know what to think. I don't think the film would have as much impact if we didn't see him acting like a complete and utter nut job and someone that can get cars unstuck from the mud by using their....legs!?
I mean he is a crazy mother fucker in this! He wears sweater vests with no shirt underneath! He drinks goat milk straight from the udder! He has a wacky and hilarious crush on Bart! He's an animal lover! He is pervy! Man! He's so crazy, I love it.
And further more--how cool is France that one of their most famous actors can act in movies as disturbing as Irreversible and Sheitan AND also star in romantic comedies and what not? Can you imagine what would happen to Brad Pitt's career if he was in a movie like Irreversible? Man, the United States stinks!!!
Perhaps most surprising about Sheitan is that nothing really serious happens until about the last half hour or so. Don't get me wrong random creepy things happen leading up to that, but for the most part it feels like there is a lot of waiting around. I would compare it to the same sort of anticipation that we receive in The House of the Devil. We know something is going to happen and we want to know what that is--but getting there just takes a bit longer is all. Luckily everything that happens in Sheitan is enough to hold our attention. There is just simply too much mystery surrounding the character of Joseph, that turning our back on the story and the film is out of the question.
I would also like it to be known that I almost puked three times during this movie. But listen to this---there is very little gore in this. The first instance was a horrible hair pulling incident. As stated several times, hair being pulled is not my strong suit. It makes me queasy just thinking about that scene right now. The second instance was when the group was eating the goat--what horrifying noises! And lastly the infamous birth scene at the film's end....wow. It has inspired me to write a post about how to convince people to never have a baby, look for it soon.
Sheitan has a lot going for it. The more I think about it, the more I am tickled by how involved the theme of the devil and sinning is. At first glance (and to many of those dummies on the IMDB forums) the film is your typical, annoying young people getting into trouble with some woodsy creepers story. Upon further examination though, it becomes very apparent that every character in the film is in someway connected to this bigger picture of the devil. People complain about most of the characters being unlikeable--but they're supposed to be. With the exception of Yasmine, all of our main characters are as I said earlier--assholes. They aren't supposed to be liked because they are in essence devils themselves. Some are worse than others (I can think of no one else I want to kill more than Bart for instance) but for the most part, these kids suck and they have to. The religious themes run deep--from the character of Eve our resident temptress, to the locusts in the bed, to the goats and the snake. There are many, many layers involved and I must say it makes me appreciate the film quite a bit.
The flaws are pretty standard, a lot of what feels like unnecessary showcasing of the boobies, a random dream sequence that unfairly tries to make a false twist, gets in the way of coherentness, and a few characters that have confusing motives and backgrounds. Most of the flaws however luckily do not interfere with the true bat shit craziness of the film, so rest assured. One of my favorite things about the film actually IS the unlikeable factor of the characters. Because we don't really give a crap what happens to any of them--the last scene or so causes something very curious to happen. Since Vincent Cassel is so crazy, and the revelation of his deal is so crazy--we are not worried about the fate of the characters---we are worried for ourselves! We are literally terrified that Vincent Cassel will come out of the screen and want to play chicken with us in the hot springs. THAT is how effective the film truly is--or at least I see it that way.
If you haven't caught on by now, let me explain something to you. This movie is bat shit crazy. Not in a Hausu way (although I'd be lying if I said Sheitan didn't need a man eating piano to make things better), but more in a you just can't believe your eyes kind of thing. I'm telling you, the last few minutes of this film will make you feel very, very upset in more than one way. I definitely did not expect things to unfold quite like they did but wow....that's really all I have to say. I could tell you what makes it so crazy but it's really something you need to experience for yourself. Luckily Sheitan just became available to watch instantly on Netflix. I highly recommend it and believe it is a shame that it doesn't get more credit when held up against the other French powerhouses. Let's fix this!