Film Review: Knife + Heart (2018), dir. Yann Gonzalez
I pegged you as more modern.
After a rockin' pre show, ‘Knife + Heart’ is a romance sliced up in a gritty synth pop slasher. I shielded my eyes, I chuckled, and I wiped away tears. Sometimes, it’s true what Nazareth sang, “love is like a flame, it burns you when it’s hot.”
While directing her latest gay adult film in 1979 Paris, Anne Parèze (Vanessa Paradis) copes as Loïs (Kate Moran), her girlfriend and editor, breaks off their relationship. Stricken by grief, Anne channels her creative energy into a slasher porno. But when the actors are picked off by a seductive devil in tight jeans, leather jacket, and BDSM mask, Anne must defend her crew who are her loved ones. Oh, and what other name to call her flick than ‘Homocidal’!
Vanessa Paradis is wonderful as the fantastically driven yet damaged director. Sharp and spiked, Paradis arouses an artist’s struggle and triumph to channel their agony through artistic expression. When the knives aren’t stabbing rectums, the pain of lost love slices and dices the audiences’ cardiac. While Moran is edited separately from Paradis’ presence, we endure the damaged love waiting to flourish during their shared, yet limited screen time.
Since “love” in today’s society is marketed at a swipe away, the film taps into the taboo existence of pornography. Many utilize the visual medium in place of romantic needs and sexual instinct. ‘Knife + Heart’ discusses the fact that abusive nature in porn can lead to abusive tendencies in relationships, if porn continues to be prohibited in conversation and/or awareness.
As all the men before him, the killer compensates with a phallic weapon. He wields a blade ejecting dildo. One oral fixation insists of gagging to the point of explosion; talk about a climax. Yes, the mask defining his bulging eyes, and his curious presence are terrifying; the killer’s beguiling conduct is the only thing going for him. Like Anne, he wants love. And so does every player in the picture.
Like any great slasher, this film adores those that pushed the envelope before: There’s a superb nod to ‘Psycho’; a graveyard encounter romanticizes the Grimm through blue tinted moon rays (reminds of ‘The House on Sorority Row’); a funny ‘Alien’ spoof arises during a picnic in a mystical field that could be the Paris countryside or a wooded Baltimore terrain yonder John Waters’ house. The film predicts today’s new wave in horror depicting ritual terrors. Very Paleolithic for our “modern world.”
The film never bleeds on itself since the heart pumps of blissful dreams. Fucking scary with doses of staunch wit and whimsical gusts of wind, ‘Knife + Heart’ empowers the underdogs: The LGBTQA. A pivotal moment embraces queer camaraderie and how we will never surrender ourselves to the oppressor. While expecting to leave the theatre in a mad dash for the train, I kept my shoulders wide and ready for the masked figure to even try it.
Before parting, stay as the credits hold on for one last embrace.