Starring: Marc Jarousseau, Vanessa Guide, Jérôme Niel
Director: Tony T. Datis
Running Time: 100 mins
The Mansion (Le manoir) is a Belgian film about a group of student friends who come to celebrate New Year at an isolated country manor, however their party soon takes a turn for the worse as a series of strange events send them all into a living nightmare.
There are a good few horror comedies a lot better than The Mansion, but there are far, far more worse. As a film that’s out there to make you laugh, this does a pretty good job throughout, and although it consistently lacks in both originality and any sort of maturity, it embraces its sillier motifs throughout to make what, for me, ultimately proves a rather entertaining watch right to the end.
But let’s start off quickly with what doesn’t work about this film. Obviously, there’s the rather crass sense of humour combined with a haunted house story that you’ve seen billions of times before, so it’s not the sort of movie to really set a spark in the most intellectual minds.
Also, the film’s opening act is a little too slow to get going ahead of what is a rather inevitable and predictable turn of events, instead choosing to develop a collection of characters that aren’t all that likable, and with every new piece of information about each of them, there’s even less reason to care about their survival in the impending battle against an unstoppable menace.
With that said, I was delighted that once this film did finally get into its manic horror comedy, things do turn out rather well. Unlike Scary Movie and that sort, this film manages to inject enough energy and excitement into the horror story, as if it’s still taking itself a little seriously rather than being a flat-out, idiotic parody.
In that, you can turn your brain off and watch the predictable horror unfold with a sense of fun about, and that combined with the film’s surprisingly consistent comedy (albeit a brand which definitely won’t be to everyone’s liking), I really found myself enjoying The Mansion.
It’s a well-directed movie that moves along at a fast enough pace to keep you engaged, and the balance between comedy and horror is pretty decent as far as the genre goes.
When it comes to the screenplay, I would have definitely liked to see some more engaging characters from the start, although once the action kicks in at the beginning of the second act, all of the leads do a decent job at playing up various stereotypes of the genre – to the point that they’re funny enough to like and even root for come the finale.
Overall, I was surprised by The Mansion. It’s a completely ridiculous and juvenile horror comedy that shouldn’t work, and despite a strong lack of originality and an underwhelming opening act, it’s actually an impressively entertaining and manic film that should prove a fun watch for fans of the genre and maybe others, which is why I’m giving it a 7.5.