I first saw the trailer for this French film when going to see “Super Size Me” upon its theatrical release. This trailer had me hooked, but I couldn’t see it until it was released on dvd later. The film is in French with English subtitles and it is one of my favorite foreign French horror/thrillers. It’s a tough one to watch and even harder to really explain, however I’m going to try. I now present for your consideration the film, “Cache”, directed by Michael Haneke.
A series of tapes are starting to land on a couples door. When they play the tape, it tells them that they have 7 days to live before they die….just kidding. The video is a long form tape of the front of their home. Nothing else, but a video recording of the front of their house in real time; no interaction, no strange happenings, just the front of their house during the day, creating an interesting premise.
The story then gets weirder and weirder, and Georges starts to investigate.
Here is a trailer for the French, Award Winning film, Cache:
The creepy tapes start coming in with weird drawings that show parts of Georges youth, and as time goes on, Georges and his wife suspect someone and when their son apparently disappears, things get out of hand.
The film looks good. It is shot in a manner that creates tension time and time again. The tension builds to a boiling point and you really are in for it towards the end of the film. Admittedly, I haven’t seen a movie this tense since I first saw 52 Pick Up or Funny Games. You expect a powder keg to go off, considering how slow moving the film is, and right when you think the answer is there, the movie throws in a love triangle plot point, and you really don’t know who to believe.
The acting, although in French, is great. The family looks to be right there with a documentary crew, not just a movie of fiction. The dialogue is firm and filled with trepidation. As you think the story is going to resolve, and the main characters reach the crux of the story, a shock and awe situation occurs that leaves you wondering what in the world you’ve just seen. It’s done in such a real time, subtle way. It is not glorified at all, and really punches you in the face with how cinematic it really is. I’m referring to the suicide scene towards the end of the film.
Why Cache is Scary: Cache has been argued by many people as being a thriller and not a horror movie at all. I can see that line of thinking, since the movie never really jumps into gore, sex, or violence on a grand scale. However, the movie steps across the lines of thriller and horror genres with the tension and acting. The insinuation of revenge, lust, and infidelity is enough to categorize this movie as a horror film, at least in my book.
The scariest notions that are found in this film revolve around the mysterious tapes. The movie spends a large portion of time with the tapes. The discovery of the tapes and the watching of the tapes, and these tapes are the most important piece to creating tension in this film. There are a lot of tactics to making a film tense, but the most subtle ones are created with the unknown and this film does that perfectly. The most tense moments are not even with the discovery of what is going on, but rather the consistency of the tapes delivery. These tapes keep coming, the mysteriousness keeps growing, and right when you think you have it all figured out, the rug is swept from under you.
I was working at a video store when this film came out on dvd, and a customer told me that the standard of horror and thriller genres in France consist of this sort of non resolute film making. Cache will make you mad because they never resolve the issue. It really takes you to an odd cliff and then leaves you there. You have to make a lot of assumptions, because the story never reveals itself on either side. There is more tension with the discovery of the tapes than the ending of the film, because there really is no end. The characters kind of let it go, and we are left with scenarios that make absolutely no sense in light of the rest of the film.
Cache is a scary film to me because there is a conformity to the lives of the people involved. I’m scared in a lot of ways of conforming to the pattern of this world. In many ways, I feel that I’m the last of a generation of people that fought against stagnant thought, and somehow in my own thoughts rebellious. It can be argued that I’m defeated because I’m a Christian, a form of conformity, but even in my beliefs I do not simply sit on my thumbs, but rather try to know culture, love people, and act on the principals that are spoken of in the Bible not just assume and act on preconceptions. I’m scared of someone taping me and showing me what I really am and what really happens in my life or my past. Whether it is judgment or not, the scariest part about this film is that there is someone watching and there is someone that knows more than they lead to believe and no matter how hard you try to ignore it, it keeps coming. It doesn’t want to kill you, it just is there. Are the tapes a metaphor for God? Did the creator of the tapes want the family to look back at their lives and make a change? I’m not sure. A lot of lines can be drawn in regards to the way the story is told in this film, but in the end, Cache, which means hidden, is a scary movie that slowly unravels into a mountain of powder keg and leaves you with the matches, lit and waiting for the explosion. However, if you’re not thinking, the explosion will never come.
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