Six young men and women head off in two cars for a weekend trip in rural France. Along the way, the car with the three guys runs out of gas, fortunately within pushing distance of a filling station. There, our boys inadvisedly pick up a hitchhiker, who turns out to be an escaped psychopath. But no sooner have they started to worry about their new passenger when a mysterious fog and a ghostly vision send them careening off a cliff. Wounded and lost, they find that not only do they have a killer to contend with, but there is something monstrous and huge under the ground that is hunting all of them.
Clearly shot on a shoestring, but very ambitious in its special effects (an opening prologue featuring a meteor strike in 17th-Century France, giant tentacles reaching of the ground to grasp a helicopter), this is a film that certainly pulls out the stops. The plot is pretty packed, too, what with a ghost, a killer, AND a monster. But for all that, what the film needs is something quite inexpensive: a stronger script. The characters are set up quite well, but nothing much is done with them, and they wind up playing out in fairly conventional ways (the loser is the hero and vice versa, for instance). And for all the elements that are tossed into the mix, much of the running time still involves racing around to little effect in dark woods. Still and all, there is some fun monster work, and the just how much this little movie attempts to pull off, whether it fully manages to or not, is worthy of admiration.
The case is careful to point out that the film was shot on standard definition video, in non-anamorphic widescreen. So that’s what we have (in a 1.85:1 ratio), and those low, low, low budget origins are painfully apparent. The daylight scenes are plagued by lots of grain and pixelation so extreme that a few scenes border on the unwatchable. The worst of those flaws disappear once night falls (the latter two thirds of the film), but now the problem is that the murk that conceals the worst of the aforementioned flaws also obscures just about everything else, as well. One gets by, but one is going to need a fair bit of forbearance.
The sound is pretty good, blessed with undistorted dialogue and solid use of 5.1 surround for the sound effects. The score is driving (though prone to cheese – I hope the final credits song was supposed to be amusing), but here, curiously, the mix barely acknowledges the presence of rear speakers. Overall, though, the effect is more impressive than the picture.
Quoth the case: “Mix one part Tremors, a heaping helping of The Thing and add a splash of The Evil Dead‘s directorial inventiveness.” Certainly these films are invoked, quite consciously, but Resonnances isn’t up to the comparisons. It still does a fair bit with nothing at all, so director Philippe Robert will be worth keeping an eye on.