One of the advantages of having your own site is that you get to watch whatever the fuck you want and write about it. I don’t feel obligated to strictly review horror movies, but anything I feel falls close enough to the genre, or in some cases, falls nowhere near the genre. I stumbled across Simon Killer when reading a list of underrated horror movies, but after watching it for myself, I can’t really call it a horror movie. There are some tense situations and thrilling aspects of it, but I bet if I went back to read the comments on that list, a bunch of people would be complaining about this not being a horror movie. Although it’s not a traditional horror film, there are definitely some horrific aspects in this character study, and since I don’t think his actual last name is “Killer”, I think that qualifies it to be able to be reviewed by yours truly!
Maybe you wouldn’t be called Simon “Killer” if you didn’t always look like a creep.
After recently graduating from college, American Simon (Brady Corbet) travels to Europe for a vacation. It’s not an entirely enjoyable experience as Simon is also dealing with the recent breakup with his girlfriend back home. Seeking human affection, Simon finds himself in a sex club where he hits things off with a prostitute named Marianne (Constance Rousseau). He strikes up a romantic relationship with Marianne, despite her profession, and moves in with her. When Simon learns the nature of Marianne’s clients, he gets the idea that the two of them should videotape and blackmail some of her encounters in hopes of exploiting the men who have the most to lose. Although the pair get off to a rocky start in the blackmailing circuit, they are eventually able to exploit someone and bring harm to everyone involved. We learn that Simon isn’t any sort of mastermind, but rather has fallen into an emotional void that causes him to want to drag down as many people with him as he can.
If I had a nickle for every time a French prostitute coddled me, I’d be able to move to Paris!
Is there a better metaphor for someone being detached from building connections with other humans than a tourist visiting a foreign land alone? Even though I’ve never traveled to a different country by myself, it’s hard not to feel bad for Simon in his encounters with strangers where he can’t properly communicate his thoughts. Multiple scenes of Simon trying to compose an email, deleting words and revising them, only added to the symptoms of Simon being emotionally detached from people he cares about. Corbet really helps sell Simon’s frustrations and confusions at wanting to do what was best for him while not realizing the impact he had on the lives of strangers in which he was just a passerby. We might not all have as violent of intentions as Simon does, but you can relate really well to the desperation to feel anything at all. I also really dug the way music was used in the movie, in that in certain segments the music completely drowns out the sounds of the scene, and maybe it’s my affinity for Euro synth pop, but it reminds you of walking around in headphones being completely detached from your surroundings. I might have been able to enjoy this movie more with the thought that there was going to be violence, or at least the potential of violence, than had I entered it thinking it was just a drama. It made the whole thing feel a lot more tense and since I enjoy slow-paced horror, it was worth investing my time in. Definitely not a “horror” movie, but an interesting character study of someone who can’t really seem to connect with anyone.
Wolfman Moon Scale