Director: Eric Tessier
Stars: Marc-Andre Grondin, Mylene-Saint Sauveur, Sonia Vachon, Normand D’Amour
CHECK this one out MATE! A dangerously underrated near masterpiece
“5150” certainly does not get enough recognition from what I’ve just seen, and it’s probably because it simply isn’t well known! I only happened to stumble across it when it came up on my Amazon recommendations and I actually bothered to click on it, then I read about it and thought it sounded quite good, especially after reading it was French, and I know that nobody does horror better than the French. And then I watched the trailer that blew me away, I knew it was something I’d love and so almost immediately bought it straight after that! “5150 Elm’s Way” certainly didn’t disappoint much. In fact, if it was more horror heavy than drama heavy, then I would consider it up their with the greatest of French horror. It also surprised me as well, and gave an absolutely compelling and gripping drama/horror.
I don’t know why not many people have heard of this, maybe it’s because of the rubbish title, I mean come on! “5150 Elm’s Way” is a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? Maybe if it had something catchier like “51 Elm’s Way” or simply just “Elm’s Way” it might’ve appealed to more audiences, but maybe I’m just picking a bit their. The fact is that this film deserves to be seen by a wider audience, I’m sure if people knew about this and gave it the time of day they would love it almost as much as I did! Now maybe it wasn’t as dark as the trailer suggested, but it did give much more in the way of plot and screenplay that I anticipated for. Maybe, if “5150 Elm’s Way” was glossed over in a brush similar to “Frontier(s)” we might’ve had a little horror classic on our hands.
But don’t let the drama aspect put you off! In some ways it is much more of a positive, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how the film went deeper into the psycho family’s character, when usually horror films like to ignore the villain’s so we feel zero sympathy for them, here the film quite cleverly takes a different route by showering us with excellent characterisation on both sides, the righteous and the unrighteous both get equal screen time. It also means that instead of getting two dimensional villains, we get very human ones, which is extremely refreshing to see. We get to understand how their family works and why they are like how they are. I felt such sympathy for Maude, the mother and at times felt very teary for the family (don’t worry I didn’t let go!) Everything did seem like a drama pretending to be a horror film at times, but actually when the game of chess was introduced in the final 40-30 minutes, horrifying things did start to pick up, and its air of realism slightly went out the window, which I actually quite admired in a way. I also wasn’t expecting Yannick’s psychological torment to be quite as mind-blowing as it was. The directing sometimes looked as if the person changed. Instead of interesting family drama we got psychological horror that was really cleverly expressed. It was absolutely captivating to see Yannick change and become obsessed, and also to see how he’s affected their family.
Some scenes such as when Yannick plays chess and when he starts seeing “The Shining” styled blood, are marvellously done and it really helps for the audience to get into his character. “5150 Elm’s Way” can often be thrilling as well! The film has you cheering for Yannick to get out all the way, and you do start to notice the complex bonds changing, giving us much, much more than a horror film. The acting was also very good, and very realistic. They looked like a normal family, so it was easy to relate, and Yannick also didn’t make too many frustratingly stupid decisions like you see in almost every survival-based horror film.
In the end. “5150 Elm’s Way” is more of an extremely dark drama than a horror film, although it does step into horror territory towards the end, and it also isn’t afraid to shock like most horror films, it has no boundaries. It is brilliantly written and shows beautifully promising directional flourishes. It’s also completely thrilling and captivating to watch, with a very clever ending that makes you wonder who really has won. “5150 Elm’s Way” is one of the best psychological films, I’ve seen and is very nearly a 10/10 masterpiece.