I’ve been craving to get a non-Hollywood/American movie review up! I just recently bought this French-Canadian psychological “horror” thriller called 5150 Elm’s Way. Its based on a French-Canadian novel by a renowned Quebec author called Patrick Senecal. I realized that as I was watching the credits, which is also the man who is the spokesperson of the Fear Depot that I had posted about HERE! I am about to buy the novel for this one and see how I feel about it. I am an extremely slow reader when it comes to French so I just hope that I will feel the full impact because of that. Apparently, he believes in the horror in human nature more than the mythical creatures. This is my first time exposed to his work so lets start with a little synopsis.
Yannick Berube (Marc-Andre Grondin) is a guy with a bright future in front of him. He just received his acceptance into film school and moved to a new neighborhood. As he was exploring and taking down the new area, he wanders onto Elm’s Way. However, he gets caught in an accident and falls off his bike. Heading to the nearest residence, he knocks on the door of the Beaulieu family to ask for assistance to help him get home and to use their phone. There, he discovers the plans of Mr. Beaulieu (Normand D’Amour) and his family and they take him captive. The only way Beaulieu will let him out is to beat him at a game of chess.
**If you want a further description, you can head to IMDB but I never like to expose too much of the plot or else it ruins the fun when (and if) you get a chance to see it. I even think the trailer reveals a bit too much also**
5150 Rue Des Ormes is mostly a psychological thriller and less of a horror. The horror itself is in the people involved: their nature, beliefs and their values. Being based on a novel, I’m guessing that the characters themselves were portrayed in a pretty detailed and somewhat twisted way to begin with. This movie is about the horrors of being overly obsessed with different things and discovering a lot about our inner fears. The story itself is quite intriguing and keeps us guessing between the characters as they challenge not only each other but their inner selves. Its not only between Yannick and the Beaulieu but also between each member of the Beaulieus as well. The story itself is slow and the key is in the emotions and the interaction throughout their dialogue.
One of the key elements itself is the characters themselves. Just a note that I haven’t seen any of this cast in other movies before however, I think a good place to start is our main character, Yannick Berube, played by Marc-Andre Grondin (first image above). He shows the greatest growth in character and we connect with his character the most as he is the one that is kidnapped and locked away. We can sense is desperation and eventually his shift in character as he slowly shows the subconscious that surfaces as Beaulieu challenges him repeatedly and as he learns more about the situation around him.
The main confrontation is between Yannick and Beaulieu, played by Normand D’Amour. As impressive as I found Yannick’s character portrayal, the most outstanding performance has to be Normand D’Amour’s portrayal of Beaulieu. One thing you will realize very soon in the movie is that Beaulieu is an extremely righteous man. He believes the world is a game of good versus evil. This is his obsession and he carries that into interpreting the actions he has with his track record of never being beaten in one game of chess. Right away, we can tell this man is obviously not quite all there mentally. He makes us question his goals and eventually his bigger plans and the extremity of his beliefs. There’s also a part where we wonder what he will do with Yannick because Beaulieu aims to be hospitable to him, however doing what he can to protect his family. Its a struggle for him as well to choose the right thing to do.
This movie does come with some faults. As much as the two main characters are detailed and interesting, the side characters being the other members of the Beaulieu family are not given as much time. One of the most significant being the daughter, Michelle. She has a deep role in the development of the plot and on screen, Michelle, played by Mylene St. Sauveur, does an impressive job. I just felt that there was so much more that her character could of done but she left me with a lot of question marks floating around my head at the end. These somewhat lack of development for the supporting characters also left there to be little plot holes here and there and might take away from the overall experience.
Overall, 5150 Elm’s Way is an impressive slow-paced psychological thriller. It gives you some good twists and a very intriguing story that will make you think about the concept of obsession and freedom; inner fears; good versus evil, etc. It wraps up into a game of human nature and what drives certain people to do what they do. It builds up some good tension and slowly pulls you in. This is definitely one that I’d recommend especially if you are into the sort of movie like Hard Candy. Its a lot of dialogue and at times, we shift between a person’s inner world and the real one. The more I think about it, the more I find it awesome 🙂 Especially with that ending (even though a bit predictable), still has to me thinking about it
I’m going to check out the novel and hope that the supporting characters there will be explained better 😉
Are you into psychological thrillers? Does this sound like something you’d be interested to watch?