Get In

Furie | 2019 | Unrated (R equivalent) | starring Adama Niane, Stephane Caillard | directed by Olivier Abbou | 1 hr 37 mins | In French with English Subtitles |

Once upon a time, about 12 years ago, the French dominated horror with a handful genre-definers that mixed gore and style, tragedy and thrills. Get In doesn’t reach those symphonic misery porn heights, though in it’s best moments it did remind me why these movies are so special. The film is a fairly standard high-concept thriller, but with a substantive arc at it’s core and a slather of theatrical only-in-a-French-movie wackiness on top, it puts it above most of this genre fair.

The home invasion movie. A genre that’s had a mini renaissance since The Strangers. Because it is so cheap to produce it is full of ugly low budget exploitation flicks (like Jackals or the Nicholas Cage/Nicole Kidman Tresspass) or lazy studio films (The Purge, Knock, Knock) with only the occasional work of true inspiration bubbling to the top with Your Next and Better Watch Out. Get In doesn’t add much new to the genre, it just does it well, building a simple character story into it where few others would bother. It plays like a non-Hollywood version of the Gabrielle Union reverse-home invasion movie Breaking In mixed with a heavy dose of Straw Dogs. It is a solid backbone to build a thriller off of that should satisfy fans of this kind of niche genre mix. I was drawn in by it.

Chloe (Stephane Caillard) and Paul (Adama Niane) Diallo return from a motorhome vacation to find their au pair and her husband have seized their house, locked them out and turned over all the bills in their name. Parking their RV in the camp ground of Chloe’s childhood friend Mickey (Paul Hamy) while they decide what to do, the more confrontational Chloe and passive Paul wind through the legal system with no results until Mickey and Paul decide the only solution is to take the house back by force.

Director/co-writer Oliver Abbou takes the California “nanny from hell” squatter story and mixes it with French migrant invasion metaphors to hang the blood-boiling premise on; but the movie really fleshes out when it starts zeroing in on Paul’s push out of domesticity. Paul believes he has “done everything right”. He’s followed all the rules and has now nothing to show for it. He’s black, in a mixed race relationship watching two white people take his house and he’s a polite beta male increasingly worried his wife prefers the primal alpha dogs. Get In examines racial identity and primal masculinity as an effective, Peckenpah-esque, springboard into it’s thriller elements and it gives it all a bit more weight then it otherwise would have. At the end of the day it doesn’t have beyond the superficial to say on these things, but that they are there at all is welcome food for thought.

Paul is seduced by the RV park rave boys and pushed to his breaking point. The movie takes the time to sketch this journey out. When the final confrontation comes it is nicely complicated between Paul and Chloe, the squatters and the hillbillies who have taken to tormenting the squatters on Paul’s behalf with pigs. Pigs ready to blow the house down. Since the movie is strong on basic story structure, it probably knows that a good script is always moving the story forward. This bring us to sex scenes, which by that definition have no place in a good script because they almost never move the story forward. That aside is to note that Get In does provide an example of a sex scene that works to the benefit of Paul’s story. Touche.

Get In doesn’t look as slick and luscious as the top line French horror films, it’s camera too shaky, too TV movie, though it does have it’s share of nice single-take tracking shots when it can get them in. It climaxes in a full-scale showdown of ridiculous proportions, one that will turn off some. To me, that’s when the movie embraced it’s French New Wave horror lineage. I appreciated that Get In built it’s thriller elements on a simple, streamlined character arc. It’s basic but it works and that’s what makes Get In more effective than many other exploitation movies like it.

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