Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Madmen and Mexican Mushroom Cupcakes: The Mansion (2017)

The Mansion (Le Manoir) (France, 2017)
Rating: **
Starring: Marc Jarousseau, Nathalie Odzierejko and Ludovik

Knowing that this could be the last time their group will ever get together as college comes to a close, Nadine and her boyfriend Fabrice plans to host a New Year's Eve party at a rented Belgian mansion themed to the year 2000. Their guests include licentious Samantha and her very agitated ex Stephane as well as her young bookish cousin Charlotte, aspiring actor Djamal, wimpy Bruno, assertive gal Jess and goggle-wearing stoner Drazic. (The classic slasher stereotypes~)

For most parts, everything seems alright with the gang socializing with one another due to the mansion's lack of cell service and, once the festivities begin, everyone there is simply having a ball dancing, drinking and gorging on mushroom-laced cupcakes. But then Charlotte disappears into the woods, Nadine's dog "Kitty" is found decapitated and Djamal is found dead and hung. (Figuratively and literally) It's soon clear to our gang that someone wants them dead and it all may or may not have something to do with the mansion's former owner Baron Gluckenstein Muller, Satanic rituals and missing children.

As a production, The Mansion (2017) has a competent look when it comes to the gothic backdrop, with lighting, cinematography and set design working altogether to give us a slick-looking yet atmospheric terror mansion and a decent deal of creative editing came handy when giving the place an intimidating and ghoulish feel whenever a scene calls for it, resulting to a lot of chilling visuals fit for an old dark house story. 

It does take a while before anything remotely interesting happens, however, with the gang spending twenty-some minutes after an opening kill practically feeding us one exposition to the next of either what their whole deal is or what's troubling them. With The Mansion (2017) being a horror comedy and all, the focus of these dialogues (and the movies general direction for that matter) is to make us laugh and the brand of comedy presented here juggles mostly within the sleazy and juvenile. That said, if we're not engaged in conversation concerning the weirdest place to have sex in or the troubles of having a large manhood, we could be treated with jokes about getting high and talking to imaginary warthogs or how an unfortunate fella steps on dog shit before finding said dog's severed head. It's a gaggle of funnies I'm sure would cater to some, but I personally just find most of it dull and overused, with only a scant few that honestly got a genuine chuckle out of me.

As a slasher, The Mansion (2017) has its share of straightforward killings, though half and half of the rest of the slayings do lean to the brand of tired humor this film runs on, with one example being a fellow who, as a dying wish, have two of his female friends act out erotic roleplays while he jerked himself to death. It's a mixing of gore and gags that can be a real hassle to go through as they really try their hardest to sell the punchline for these kills, often overstaying their welcome before finally moving ahead to the next scene. Thankfully, though, the last act appears to have found a good balance on humor and horror as not only do we get some nasty deaths, but the twist reveal and the motive behind the murders came with some laughably fun visual gags and hilariously awesome deaths involving hallucinogenic overdose and cobra venom.

All in all, The Mansion (2017) is pretty staple example of a slasher comedy. It has the blueprints of a workable bonkers bodycounter, though the type of humor they went with is a real divisive brand. If you would like to go past beyond jokes involving masturbation, infidelity and animal feces, then you could do better, but for anybody else with a funny bone for this kind of stuff, more power to you lot, then, and I hope you'll enjoy this somehow.

1 female dragged away, killed
1 male murdered offscreen, later seen hung by the groin
1 male had his legs chopped off with an animal trap, succumbs to his wounds
1 female had her neck crushed with a rolling pin
1 male had his throat cut with a knife
1 male seen taxidermized
1 male seen taxidermized
1 male seen taxidermized
3 female heads seen taxidermized
1 female ran through with a pitchfork
1 female set ablaze
1 male swallows a poison dart frog, poisoned
1 male succumbs to cobra venom 
Total: 15

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