|The title sequence's changing model of the town was|
creepy & awesome
But this new French production takes some tried-and-true tropes of the slasher to the extreme, will chilling effect. I don't want to give away details - that would spoil the fun - but never have I seen a group of people who deserve what happens to them more. That old adage that only the sinful, only the deserving fall victim to the wrath of a homicidal maniac is driven home in Le Chalet, where so much time is spent detailing the past disappearance of a young family, slowly revealing how they disappeared, why, and who was responsible. The storytellers did a great job of mixing the storylines of the past and the present, focusing both on the children (who are grown adults in the present, returning to this "edenic" place), and their parents, who have aged and will suffer terribly for their past misdeeds. The mystery of what happen unravels at a slow, gripping pace, but once you know what happened...it's despicable. That's really the only word for it. Rarely do you actually "root" for the killer, but it's merited. Well merited. So you definitely come away from this with some unique emotions for slasher-watching.
Second, the isolated setting is damn near perfect, in every sense of the word. The town was isolated to begin with - in the middle-of-nowhere France, surrounded by forest. It's a small town that everyone tries to leave, but of course so many people sadly never do, which screws with their sense of normalcy. The characters already get piss-poor cell service, but when you take out the bridge to town, you also take out the landlines, and any other communication to emergency services that you're gonna need.
What I really loved about this show was the tight focus on the victims as "hunted." How they are deliberately cut-off, herded down dangerous pathways to find a way out of the village to help, and pitted against each other. The closer you come to understanding the past, the tighter the net is cast around them. The more you understand the need for retribution, the more you're behind it, even as they show the grey moral areas of murdering your enemies. It's brilliant.
I recommend this show for all slasher fans, but it will also have a broad appeal for people who like dark or psychological thrillers. You won't regret it.
K. Rating: 5/5