Return of Project Horror, Day 14: Trouble Every Day


Starting in college, but ending when I got married, I used to subscribe to a lot of magazines.  Seriously, a lot.  This was before there was such a thing as RSS readers, so that I could set up Google Reader basically to be an awesome magazine, filled only with content that I want, delivered to my desktop as often as I want it.  A side effect of reading that many magazines was that I often read multiple takes on the same subject matter in a very brief period.  Some things would show up in just one magazine, while others (Maxim & Details, Rolling Stone & Spin) had a lot of overlap simply because they covered similar things.  But there were certain cultural waves, certain movies, video games, or albums, that had enough talk around them that they would wind up in practically all of the magazines.  So there was this period where I could tell you the plot of, and critical perspective on, virtually any movie that came out, despite the fact that I lived in a town where many of them didn't play, and the video store probably didn't stock them.  Yeah, this was also pretty much pre-Netflix.

Trouble Every Day was one of those movies.  The critics in every magazine spilled gallons of ink writing about how innovative and different and interesting it was.  I was kind of intrigued, and thought from their descriptions that it did, indeed, sound like an interesting movie.  It never played near me, though, and never came to any video stores around here, and I eventually put it out of my mind.  Out of my mind, that is, until I needed to find five days of French horror movies.

When I watched Calvaire earlier this week, I thought that I had watched a movie that was truly the epitome of what I had initially thought French horror would be like.  That was before I saw Trouble Every Day.  It out-Frenches Calvaire.  At least in Calvaire, horrible stuff actually happened.  In Trouble Every Day, the horror is <gasp> existential!  How French is that?  Between scenes that barely inch the plot along, be prepared for many more scenes of things like a hotel maid washing her feet in the sink, or a newlywed going sightseeing in Paris.

There are two separate plots that join together late in the movie.  First, we meet a seductress who lures men in, and then black widows them.  She has a condition which causes her to succumb to a blood-thirsty mania every time she becomes sexually passionate.  Her husband, a doctor, cleans up after her killings and tries to confine her to their house for her protection while he searches for a cure.  Then we meet a newlywed couple, in Paris for their honeymoon.  By degrees, it is revealed that the husband has the same condition.  He has come to Paris to try and find the black widow's husband.  Years before, all three of them had been part of a scientific team working deep in the jungle on some unspecified project.  It's hinted at that the doctor's wife and the man had an affair during that time, and that it's also when they came down with the condition.

And, really, that's about all that happens.  For a movie about sex and violence, there's almost none of either one, just people sitting around brooding about it.  You never find out the origin of the condition, the real relationship between the characters, or what this means for any of them.  And on top of all that, you get to stare at greasy, sleazy, flat-voiced Vincent Gallo.  You know how when you're talking about movies with your friends, and somebody says that the critics really didn't like something, and then somebody else says that they consider that all the more reason to go see it?  This movie is exactly the kind of movie that makes people think that.  Critics loved this thing, but you will hate it.  Trust me.  I give it one Eiffel Tower out of five.


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