At Home Review: “Climax”

I’m dealing with no screenings. I’m not dealing well. So, why not throw money at streaming services that are showing stuff that was in the theaters before we all went on lockdown? Here’s my brief – because I’m in Home Mode y’all – look at Climax!

In this trippy fever dream, climax adverts expectations. All ideas of the final girl, and stereotypical horror movie characters? Forget it. They’re not here. You think they might be? Guess again. The basics: a dance troupe inadvertently takes LSD during an after party – someone laced the punch y’all. Soon tea, and venom, gets spilled. Don’t take your time settling into your couch with this one; you’ll want to watch every second, from the starting interviews (peep the DVD’s on the shelf for an Us-like hint at the vibe of what’s coming) to the absolutely breathtaking dance scene that happens before things get crazy.

Climax is a dream that segues into a nightmare, back to a dream, and do a nightmare, over and over again. I had to pinch myself to make sure that I knew that I wasn’t actually asleep and dreaming this. Like any good dream that messes with your mind, climax doesn’t wrap things up in a bow. Your left trying to figure out what the hell just happened, and sort out the fate of each character. Who’s dead? Who’s alive? What’s going on? What happened? And most importantly what’s next? Who knows. And that sort of uncertainty works here.

With writer/director Gaspar Noé at the helm, I was sure that I’d be watching something that’d mess with my mind. His avant-garde style is loud and proud here, as it was with Enter the Void and Irréversible. Though unlike the latter, Climax didn’t repel me, it drew me in. And his style of screenwriting allowed maximum spontaneous dialogue riffs from the performers, making the first half of the film feel like a real gathering of individuals. I remember snipey after-show parties, where shade and laughter was equally available.

Okay, this film may not work for everyone. It’s the kind of crazy that had me riveted, but folks who want a more linear, understandable story may find themselves nonplussed. While I’m still processing this film, I can say I know two things:

  • Director Gaspar Noé put our collective crazy, screwed up subconscious to film.
  • As the choreographer of the trashed troupe, Sofia Boutella deserves so much better than the raging garbage fire that was 2017’s The Mummy. I basically got the gist of that while watching the Dark Universe die. But oh, it’s absolutely certain after letting the infinitely better Climax wash over me.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
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