Climax Review: A new hypnotic entry from Gaspar Noe that’s beautifully horrifying
French director Gaspar Noe crafts an incredibly hypnotic psychological horror experience with his new film Climax that will both turn viewers stomachs and give them horror that’s tough to watch, but also tough to not appreciate.
The film follows a group of dancers (Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub) that start the night celebrating their routine but end up on a horrible drug trip after their sangria is spiked with LSD. People begin to point fingers at one another as to who spiked the drinks and a night of celebration turns into a night of horrors as people’s real personalities come to light. Things turn dark quick and the one thing on everyone’s mind is: Who’s going to survive the night?
Noe is usually known for making viewer’s skin crawl with surreal imagery and tough subject matter and that doesn’t stop with Climax. I wouldn’t say that the film is filled with gore or anything like that, but the film’s more sexual, violent, and truly insane nature makes you sick to stomach. Some of the film’s moments absolutely made my jaw-drop in horror and the way you view characters will completely flip after seeing how dark they can truly be.
It’s honestly a tough film to recommend because of how brutal is can be and I wouldn’t even say that it’s a film that I’d see twice. However, to Noe’s credit, this kind of shock and horror is clearly what he’s going for and he does an artfully amazing job showcasing the insanity that occurs in the film.
There’s some deserving appreciation that needs to be given to Noe as the film’s simple premise, hypnotic imagery and choreography, and journey through all of the film’s horrors are something to behold. For the first chunk of Climax, Noe basically breaks the film down into sections that gives viewers insights into each of the characters. Because there’s an incredibly slow build to the sangria kicking in, the characters, themselves, are given time to introduce themselves through interviews and even conversations with one another about each other. Through these conversations, viewers can get impressions on these characters mindsets, ambitions, love of dance, goals, their views on sex, and even their views on one another.
Even in the longer dance sequences that Noe throws in, you can get an impression on the kind of person they are based on how they dance how they act. Some come off very aggressive and try to grab the spotlight, while others are more reserved and more thoughtful in the steps they take. As a whole, these moments are incredibly hypnotic, and you almost feel like you are in a trance watching it. Honestly the entire environment feels like you are under Noe’s hypnosis as he uses long continuous shots really draws you into the neon colored environment.
Even when the film suddenly takes its incredibly dark turn, Noe’s style never fades, and it actually enhances all of the horror happening on-screen. While you mostly follow Boutella’s Selva, there’s actually a solid amount of story given to each of the other characters and that’s pretty impressive for the size of the cast. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone gets this amazing character growth and there’s even a character who literally just dances the whole movie. However, even with Boutella being the most prominent name attached to the movie, outside of Noe, the other characters actually matter, and the performances given by the entire cast bring out the strangeness and intrigue of their characters.
Climax literally feels like a slowly growing rise to a finale that is a truly horrifying climax and Noe plays with this idea in some fun ways. Normally, most films just have their opening credits during the film’s opening, but Noe actually spaces them out throughout the film in order showcase how the film is building. Even the film’s score is building until the films and truly envelops the film to create a powerful sense of fear.
Climax definitely isn’t for everyone, but those that willing to give it chance will be mesmerized by Noe’s insanely artistic style and be in shock and awe by the brain-melting horrors that the film brings. After seeing it, I can honestly say there aren’t many films like it and that it’s a film that I won’t surely forget anytime soon.