Quentin Dupieux may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is never boring. A renowned DJ as well as film-maker, Dupieux is best known perhaps for his comedic horror work Rubber, where a man is pursued by a crazed car tyre.
Dupieux’s filmic beginnings in music videos are obvious in his larger cinematic works, not least in his latest offering, Deerskin.
Major French star Jean Dujardin stars in this absurdist feature, blending horror with the standard mid-life crisis tropes. Georges (Dujardin) travels to a small town in the mountains to purchase an original deerskin jacket from a private seller. The jacket, a classic 1970s cowboy style, takes on a life of its own. When Georges meets Denise, expertly played by Adele Haenel (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) , the circle is complete, and everything disintegrates rapidly.
Deerskin is essentially a two-hander, with minor characters scattered around. Dujardin and Haenel carry the narrative with a strong chemistry and expert subtlety in delivery.
Much horror sits within a teenage framework: the summer camp; the school prom. So it’s refreshing to see the male mid-life crisis being given this treatment, without the work becoming a full blown horror movie. Here sits dark humour within the tension.
Deerskin is gently surrealistic, and reminiscent of much of the work of Yorgos Lanthimos. Interestingly, he also used the symbology of deer in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. It is not an easy watch, but nor is it a tedious intellectual exercise. It has a quirky charm that draws you in.
But does it subscribe to the Final Girl trope so popular in horror? You’ll have to see it to find out!
Deerskin is currently showing at PalaceNova Cinema, Eastend only.
Click here for screening times.