Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blood on the Disco Floor: Discopath (2013)

Discopath (Canada, 2013) (AKA "Discopathe")
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Catherine Antaki, François Aubin, Sandrine Bisson

We all know the sorts of traumatic experiences that unhinge slasher villains: horrible pranks, the death of loved ones, bad lovers, over (sometimes under) bearing parents, ridicule, etc. But have you ever seen somebody snap just because they hear a certain kind of music?

The year is 1976; low paid frycook Duane Lewis lives a dull and miserable life until that one day in the job he hears something that somehow awakens his inner bloodlust: Disco. Going into a fixed trance while hearing the tune, Lewis nearly sets the grill joint on fire, costing him his job. Now more miserable than ever, Lewis wanders off to a roller park and befriends a girl who takes pity of his plight, inviting him to go dancing at a nightclub. As anyone would see it coming, the music overwhelmed Lewis and once he got this girl alone with him, he thanks her for the new trends by stabbing and slashing her to death with a kitchen knife underneath the disco floor.

Waking up bloodied the morning after, Lewis flees to Montreal using a stolen identity as the cops investigate the murder. There, he go by a different name and works as a "mute and deaf" handyman of an all-girls school. Things were going by alright, with Lewis repressing his "condition" by using a hearing aid to block out any noise. All that is until the year 1980, as two rebellious girls decide play vinyl records in their dorm. Upon hearing the vibration of the beat, all hell break loose and Lewis snaps back into a tune-enraged maniac, even crazier than last time!

A trippy and original exploitative homage to 70s and 80s slasher movies, Discopath definitely works its style-over-substance take on the sub-genre as director Renaud Gauthier effectively captures those bygone days of drive-ins and grindhouse movies, hoarding in plenty of Italian giallo- inspired camera work and lighting, gritty vintage feel and a killer disco soundtrack to boot!

The flow of the plot is all over, to put it lightly, as the first 20 minutes or so look like as if it'll be focusing on our titular discopath in the same likeness of Lustig's notorious Maniac (1980). Interestingly, after that groovy Disco Floor murder, it suddenly shifts to a campus slasher that's kinda reminiscent of Spain's La Residencia (1969) or even Pieces (1982). (The latter was actually played as one of the two companion films during this movie's US debut at American Cinematheque film fest last October 2013. The other title being Prom Night (1980) a fitting choice in terms of tone and theme.)

Gore work is at its best here as well; curious to note is that the man behind them, Remy Couture, was once charged for obstructing Canadian obscenity laws back in 2012. After seeing the goriest set-piece he made for this movie, involving two girls being butchered with vinyl shards, I can easily vouch for his talent in making good realistic gore, albeit the majority of the murders here were not as brutal and were mostly on the level of those you can find in 80s slasher flicks: quick and (mostly) painless. They even wallowed in some 70s-style psychedelic horror when they have the discopath torment a captured teacher with the heads of previous victims while he's all in the nude!

I do, however, question the acting in this film; while the idea of a disco-triggered killing spree sounds truthfully silly, Discopath choose to play its story straight, but some of the casts here (more pointing to the English speaking actors) play their roles with much exaggeration and clichés that you can't help but feel like it's out of place. Was this movie's supposed to be an intended campy slasher tribute or a brutally serious dead teenager flick with disco?

Thankfully, the climax is pretty good, including cops chasing our killer until they manage to corner him atop of a building. The pros around this part is that they have KIZZ's I was Made for Lovin' You play over it and finishes every off with a cool twist ending. The con, however, is that a few of the scenes along the way were badly executed and acted, taking away any possible impact to what would have been an awesome finale.

For its worth, Discopath is undoubtedly a good flick. Greater even if they fixed the climax but everything else is so in par with the concept that you just got to love the effort. I'm gonna end this review with shout-out to the director: whatever it is you are doing, don't stop! A few more tweaks and you almost got it, but as of now, great flick! Awesome idea! Worth a watch for slasher and horror fans alike!

1 female repeatedly knifed, hand torn off
1 male electrocuted on sound equipment (flashback)
2 female cut open and stuffed with broken vinyl records, beheaded
1 female electrocuted on a rigged trip wire
1 male stabbed on the gut with switchblade
1 male stabbed on the neck with a switchblade
1 female strangled to death
1 male hits his head on a car windshield
1 male seen dead from car crash
1 male falls to his death, head smashed against pavement
Total: 11

No comments:

Post a Comment