“NIGHT FARE” (Mile High Horror Film Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
To call NIGHT FARE a weird entry into the horror genre is one hell of an understatement. It’s an incredibly well-crafted and exceptionally thrilling film that, at times, shows shades of JOY RIDE, THE HITCHER and THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN into the mix. However, it’s also a bit of a tonal rollercoaster, and while the entire experience is a damn fun time, some of the sharp turns on display are flat-out bewildering. While a lesser filmmaker would likely make those choices in a disjointed or erratic fashion, director Julien Seri works some unabashed midnight movie magic to make NIGHT FARE work as a strange, sinister new import you’ll have to see to believe.
At face value, NIGHT FARE is a simple story, following two estranged friends who reunite in Paris following an abrupt two-year separation, only to find themselves under the vengeful eye on a resilient unpaid cab driver. However, the cab driver doesn’t just stop in his pursuit, but is a full-on force to be reckoned with and is seemingly unstoppable. Soon, secrets are revealed, relationships are put to the test and the truth behind their night from hell comes into the light with shocking results.
Now, to reveal any of the eye-widening and utterly insane twists in NIGHT FARE would be criminal in nature; in fact, to spoil the film’s final moments would be to recontextualize the entire premise in a big, bad way. But NIGHT FARE is not a film with subtlety on the mind, reveling in graphic violence, dismemberment and random acts of inhumanity throughout. However, even the most extreme and chaotic scenes are all there for a purpose, and though there’s an atmosphere of gravitas that grounds the film, the camera is having just as much fun as the audience in bringing the bloody anarchy to screen.
However, despite Julien Seri’s confident, somewhat unfaltering direction, NIGHT FARE is perhaps too strange for its own good, with the script allowing for strange lulls in the action for dramatic tension before quickly resorting to a bizarre plot development. Luckily, Jacques Ballard’s striking and colorful cinematography as well as the Alex Cortes’ frenetic score makes NIGHT FARE at least look consistently strong, which certainly helps keep the film rolling on track. And the stunt and fight work from Damien Buffard aids to the mesmerizing set pieces, almost all of which are at least impressive technical achievements in their own right.
NIGHT FARE sports a fairly strong cast as well, including an commanding and nearly silent performance from Jess Liaudin as the crazy cabbie. Jonathan Howard and Jonathan Demurger are both good as our two protagonists, even if the material doesn’t give them deep and layered characters to work with. And while underused, Fanny Valette is also solid as the female protagonist, who comes into play largely in the film’s first and third act.
While NIGHT FARE might suffer a bit from an identity crisis and open-ended plot holes, the film is undeniably fun and technically well-made. The action is exciting, the bloody effects are strong and the lensing is gorgeous, even when the script goes into flat-out bonkers territory. One could imagine NIGHT FARE living on as a cult classic of the genre on its twists alone, even if it won’t be remembered as being as exceptionally good as some of the films it tries to emulate.