This could have been a good comedy of errors. Pastiche is interesting and necessary. But it is not.
“Horror Story” is definitely a film to be deeply absorbed. Although it is very difficult to digest, it is served after a vegetable salad with a large amount of mayonnaise. On my uncle’s birthday, of course. An uncle with a mustache, because Adrien Abanel gives us such humor.
The story is an extension of Apanel’s short film “Stancja”, which won several awards – and rightly so. The director has so many interesting perspectives on an absurd reality that unfortunately we have begun to treat it as normal.
Tomek (Jakub Zając) moves into a house like it’s part of a real horror movie. He graduated from a reputable university and has great enthusiasm for work. He’s renting a room in an old, run-down house that even Tim Burton would be proud of. Radosław Zielonka’s set design is one of the film’s greatest assets. Just like the casting direction, for which Konrad Bugaj was responsible. When he returns home, Tomek takes one of the empty spaces. It’s not expensive, and he’s looking for work. And everything would have gone smoothly if it weren’t for the diabolical landlord (the wonderful Anna Seniuk), the suspicious roommate Jarek (Konrad Elric), who sells carpets on behalf of the gypsies (although the film is still about the gypsies), and his sidekick. The feisty friend Marta (Marta Stalmirska) and Sjoerin (Sebastian Berdek), a computer scientist living in the virtual world. There is also a mysterious granddaughter, Sonia (Michalina Olshanska), who visits from time to time. Original copies only. But the climax of the film is her job search nightmare. For Tomic, this is real horror.
It is difficult to find greater absurdity than the insulting questions asked to candidates for the position of future employees, invented by the human resources departments of large companies. HR members who enjoy petty situations are mercilessly ridiculed by Apanel – and that’s great. The issue exists and was waiting to be addressed. What doesn’t work for me is the convention it’s wrapped in.
Slapstick cinema is complex because it demands a lot from the creator. There are so many things right about “Horror Story” (the concept, the set design, the costumes, the visuals, the cast – because this movie is excellent). But there are a lot of distractions. First of all, language. Must be balanced with a vulgar sense of humor. In constant and escalating form, there is no time to catch a good joke. The intensity of the profanity to the max doesn’t help. Likewise, the use of stereotypes (from xenophobia to homophobia) is so clumsily played that it perpetuates the issue rather than the controversy. Irony, which the viewer can easily miss (seeing the audience’s reactions), is a bad forecast for a successful show. Unfortunately.
There was so much potential. It ended not so much as a nightmare as a disappointment. Which is not good, because we’re talking about horror.
But I’m waiting for more. Apanel is a good observer and effective manager. He can do a lot.
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