Spoilers are going to watch this from behind the couch.
I wrote something in a previous review about how scary movies and horror films differ. This feature is going to help accentuate this even further by starting already with a sense of dread, an atmosphere of fear permeating every scene. This movie lets you know instantly you cannot get comfortable and you must watch this with growing intensity. This film also did win Fantasia’s coveted Cheval Noir this year. A warning (or trigger warning if you prefer), this movie includes gendered violence and assault.
MEGALOMANIAC (2022) is directed by Karim Ouelhaj. With a few brief scenes and captions detailing the disappearance of the real-life serial killer known as the Butcher of Mons, we are introduced to the lives of his supposed progeny, Martha (Eline Schumacher) and Felix (Benjamin Ramon). Felix seems destined to carry on his father’s gruesome legacy but Martha seems to be more introverted and submissive. However, cracks appear under this surface which are no doubt influence by the cruel abuse and gendered violence she suffers at the factory where she’s a mere cleaner. This abuse soon turns physical.
There are no saviours and very few innocents in this story. The filmmakers succeeded in providing a rather bleak atmosphere with almost zero colours and rather dismal expectations for what’s ahead. We start with an already graphic depiction of a birth to continue on showing Martha’s everyday life at the factory. Her brother Felix seems completely distant and aloof, but we see what he does with his time while Martha slaves away, becoming a target for the abuse from her co-workers while lying to her new case worker who seems oblivious to the red flags. When the line between victim and abuser is crossed, there is no going back and the atmosphere seems to drip with toxicity.
Strongly recommended with small reservations. The plot and performances are serviceable, with the standout being Eline Schumacher’s role of Martha. None of the characters are relatable or charismatic and that’s the intent. The real star is the environment and atmosphere created that almost feels like an additional performer as it seems to envelop you and weight you down. It’s almost soul crushing to accept the world this movie exists in which is it’s biggest achievement. Worth a watch, but if you’re sensible I’d recommend you watch something a little happier before going to bed.
That will do for now.