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  • TBC
  • Horror
  • 2011

Last Screening

Last Screening

Synopsis

The mild-mannered projectionist of a small French cinema facing closure takes to the streets at night to satisfy his murderous needs in this horror-thriller from Laurent Achard.

About

Last Screening is a film with an identity crisis. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Laurent Achard is quite the sycophant, so brazenly does he ape (or, more charitably, homage) his inspirations. Things begin amicably enough in the projectionists booth of a small cinema. The title-card and accompanying music are enjoyably nostalgic, with a warbling orchestral score that is abruptly muted as the film reel comes to its end. A cute touch, it immediately tells viewers that this is a film obsessed with the golden age of cinema and the cinephile lifestyle but also that it is about the artificial sense of decency that comes with it.

It is here that we are introduced to the doe-eyed Sylvain, played with gusto by Pascal Cervo. Awkward, bumbling and browbeaten, his doleful eyes convey a deep inner sadness. Unfortunately Achard obsessively recycles close-up shots of Sylvains eyes (or lengthy wide-angles of what he sees) as he acts the part of the sinister voyeur. With such a heavy-handed approach it gives him all the subtlety of a pantomime vampire drooling over a busty wench.

Accordingly, it isnt long before Sylvain reveals that he likes to murder women and cut off their ears for very silly reasons. He also likes to do this off-screen - effectively castrating any remaining horror tendencies. This would be fine, even admirable (and what violence there is is, admittedly, stylish), if the film werent so plodding and derivative. This day-night cycle of mawkish mummys boy versus ear-chopping loon is repeated ad infinitum with very little variation and it all falls to pieces long before the end of the second act.


In riffing on Cache, Pyscho, Peeping Tom - and cribbing one scene straight out of Scream 2 - Last Screening is very forgettable. Its a shame that Cervos great performance hangs limply on a wobbly script full of poor choices. Achard does not address the questions that linger (Is fantasy dangerous? Can the impossible promises of beauty and wonder that are made on celluloid drive a man to despair?) and instead smothers them with lurid horror elements and superficial exposition.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Pascal Cervo

In a nutshell

A wasted opportunity; what could have been a deliciously dark-humoured look at the nature of celebrity and fantasy is a dreary stab at the horror genre.

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