Amer (2009)
By: Victor Takac on March 1, 2011  | 
Anchor Bay (UK) | Region 2, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | French DD 5.1 | minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Directors: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Starring: Cassandra Foret, Charlotte Eugene Guibeaud, Marie Bos
Screenplay: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Country: France / Belgium
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The spirits of Mario Bava and Dario Argento are truly alive in the Belgian film, Amer. Made to imitate 70's Euro horror, this modern Giallo film pulls it off not only competently but respectfully as well, all thanks to the skill of Directors Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani.

The film is divided into three separate sections, all of which focus on three key moments in the life of Ana, played by Cassandra Foret as a child, Charlotte Eugene Guibeaud as a teenager, and finally Marie Bos as an adult. Each of the three segments have their own unique style, yet they seamless fit together to encompass the overall narrative. Each key moment in Ana's life is a lead up to the films climactic finale.

The first segment begins with Ana as a young child, and is arguably the best and most stylistic of the three segments. It's here that Amer's Giallo influences are worn on its sleeves, with the beautiful technicolour palette reminiscent of a combination of Suspiria and Inferno. Obscure angles and extreme close-ups supplement the colourful visuals in a way that creates the impression that this film really was shot in the 1970's.

This segment revolves around Ana, and the defining moment of her childhood. In essence it is a frightening recollection from the point of view of a child. Ana's caretaker is a mysterious old lady who practices black magic, which begins to put terrifying ideas into the childs head. The entire sequence remains genuinely unnerving whilst also maintaining a surreal dreamlike quality we have come to expect from Italian Giallo films.

All the elements are there but they wouldn't be worth a damn if the accompanying narrative didn't do them any justice. This segment in particular, but the other two as well, can almost be seen as standalone. Not only that, but they compliment the euro-horror theme, as well as giving a modern feel to the narrative. All of this culminates in a particularly enjoyable film.

The second sequence feels more like a transition between two main set pieces, yet it is still an important event in Anas life. The important thing to note here is that this particular segment is different to the others that it is at this point the viewer realises just how much of a visual treat this film is. After the intense childhood segment, the film begins to wind down and show off the fact that it doesn't need dialogue to provide the viewer with a unique experience. It's here that the mood is set, and begins a build up towards the climax.

The final sequence takes advantage of the Giallo characteristics in full force. A black gloved killer is causing havoc in Ana's life, gruesomely dispatching those with connections to her. Most importantly, the climactic twist, and reveal, is a perfect ending befitting of a spot next to even Argento's classics.

Cattet and Forzani have lovingly crafted a throwback worthy of the genre it's based on, and an experience like no other.
The video is presented in a beautiful Anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio which really shows off the films cinematography and unique visuals.
The stylistic score of the film is complimented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and it sounds great, though there is also a choice for Stereo. The language is in French only.
Extra Features
Anchor Bay have shown this release the same amount of love and care, as the film is supplemented by four more short films from the directors, each as brilliant as Amer. The release also comes with a foldout poster that could have been taken straight out of a European cinema in the 1970's. On top of that the release has an in depth essay on the film, and its directors, as well as a reversible cover containing two fantastic choices.
The Verdict
Amer is not simply a unique viewing experience, but it's the product of two Directors who obviously love the genre. It is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre. The fact that this Anchor Bay release is so well put together is definitely a bonus.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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