In all honesty I was questioning this film choice in class. I was weirded out by the European setting. Do not get me wrong, I love films with European settings, but for a horror film? I did not think it would actually work. It was definitely not a typical horror film. But even though I questioned the scare factor, I was still interested because of the scenic shots. Europe is such a lovely place and I was enjoying that together with the storyline of Evan and Louise. Their scenes matched with the atmosphere was very romantic. I actually thought that it was a romantic film in the beginning.
I love predicting or formulating theories when I watch horror films. I am the type who comments on most things (I know.. very annoying) so when Evan commented on a painting of a girl when he and Louise had a museum date, I had a feeling it was her. I was going “That’s really her…” I also thought she was part of a cult when they showed her cave scene. I found that part really creepy. She looked like Mia from evil dead — European version. When they started revealing her true self little by little through her shape shifting powers it kind of reminded me of Ben 10 because like Ben, she transforms in different sizes and looks. It also reminded me of the aswang myths in the Philippines. At first I thought her shape shifting scenes were quite scary, especially when she was transforming in the streets, but as they showed the full version of her monstrous transformations I was surprised to find that I did not get scared. She did not scare me because I felt like she was a good person in general, that affected the way I looked at her. A big chunk of this was because the “horrific” is not supernatural and that she had feelings for Evan.
Regarding the structure of the film, I can apply John Clute’s 4 perspectives. First (sighting), wherein Evan locks eyes with Louise as he was walking. The eye contact and fascination with this beautiful girl was the beginning of it all. Second (thickening), wherein the layers are peeled in each scene. The feeling of strangeness kicks in here. When Evan saw injections in her place and observed that she was always in a rush, but ignored it anyways was one example. Third (revel), an example of this was when Evan finally saw the monster-Louise struggling on the floor. Her world was revealed to him since then. Fourth (aftermath), when they decide to help each other out despite the situation.
The horror in this film for me was the fear of the unknown. We did not exactly know what the scary thing was or who it was and the audience did not know what Louise really was. In a way, the film had a tinge of sci-fi in it because of the reasons behind Louise’s transformations. It also had a romantic theme so I would also classify it under romance. It was a paracinema film because it had lots of genres. Feminism and patriarchy are also strong points in this film. The whole thing about the love story was that she was only using Evan for her own gain (immortality.) There was also the emasculation of the American tourist who got his penis eaten off. As well as Louise giving up her immortality to be with Evan.
Horror is culturally defined. What others consider scary might not be scary to us and vice versa. Each culture also has its own stories and influences, they all vary. I guess this is the struggle in defining the horror genre.
In general, I liked the film. It was a roller coaster of emotions and confusion but I still found it pretty cute. I feel like the romance of the two main characters was the foundation of the film and I liked how they played around with it by applying horror elements. I liked the message of the film too. That one’s selfishness can be outgrown through the power of love. That is what love does to you in the first place. All the “Me” mentality goes away. This film was the perfect reminder of authentic, genuine and true love.