Directed by Kim Chapiron
Starring Vincent Cassel, Oliver Bartelemy, Leila Bekhti, Roxane Mesquida
I am a big fan of Vincent Cassel. If the only performances you have seen of Cassel’s are his performances in Ocean’s Twelve or Derailed, you haven’t seen the best that this versatile French actor has to offer. After seeing Irreversible, I knew that Cassel’s was a name to watch in cinema. Tartan Films USA recently released Cassel’s newest film, Sheitan on DVD.
The plot to Sheitan seems standard from the beginning credits but trust me, it definitely gets stranger as things progress.
Three friends Ladj, Thai, and Bart meet up for a night of drinking and carousing. They soon meet Yasmine and Eve. When one of the group gets too rambunctious and gets the group thrown out of a club, Eve suggests they take the party to her house.
After an all night drive, they finally arrive at Eve’s remote farm. Enter into the picture Joseph (Vincent Cassel), Eve’s farmhand. Even though he has a big smile and a head full of curly hair, he immediately strikes the group as a missing cast member from the film Deliverance. Why would Eve subject her group of friends to such a weirdo?
Once Joseph enters the plot, the film really fires on all pistons. Joseph has some bizarre ideas of appropriate conversation and hobbies and he doesn’t hold back subjecting his houseguests to some really awkward situations. Joseph isn’t the only weirdo out in the backwoods of France. He also introduces the group to some of the locals and they are as whacked out as he is.
What is to become of Eve and her group of friends? Will they ever escape the grasp of the insane Joseph?
Sheitan has a wonderfully tense atmosphere and leaves the viewer anxious to see what is going to happen to the group next. However, there is an odd undercurrent of humor that somehow works in this film.
The biggest strength of Sheitan is without a doubt Vincent Cassel. He is absolutely brilliant in his performance as the bizarre Joseph and the movie works because of him.
If you were to take the films The Desperate Hours (1955) or Funny Games (1997), and make it even more tense and depraved, you would have Sheitan.
This film isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I sure enjoyed every last drop.
Sheitan is presented in anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is first rate and the black levels are respectable.
Sheitan is presented in DTS 5.1 in the original French language with English subtitles. The dialogue is clear throughout and mixed well with the soundtrack.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Sheitan is presented in a standard amaray case with a wonderfully devilish photo of Vincent Cassel on the cover. Nice job Tartan!
There are a few bonus features to explore on this release. The Making of Sheitan featurette clocks in at around 25 minutes and is a great behind the scenes look at the production of the film. There are some interviews with cast and crew. It is an pleasurable watch.
In addition to the featurette, there is the original theatrical trailer as well as trailers for other Tartan Video releases.
Unfortunately, that is all for bonus features.
Overall ( not an average) 7/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10