The Horror Honeys: Alléluia: True love can be the worst kind of terror.

Alléluia: True love can be the worst kind of terror.

A Revenge Honey and Head Honey Tandem Review

Alléluia (2014)
Dir: Fabrice DuWelz
Starring: Laurent Lucas, Lola Dueñas

Michel (Laurent Lucas), a murderous womanizer, meets introverted Gloria (Lola Dueñas) online and treats her to a whirlwind one-night-stand. Offering herself as an accomplice in his seductive crimes, the unhinged lovers embark on a deadly odyssey amplified by wild sex, unbridled jealousy, and passionate forays into the dark arts. 

Have I mentioned lately that the future of horror is in the hands of indie filmmakers? Because it really is, and films like Alléluia make that declaration even clearer. Alléluia is a film about relationships and the terrifying lengths someone will go to for love - but not the healthy kind of love that lifts you up and changes you on a fundamental level... far from it. This love is a selfish and horrifying in its obsession. Gloria is a spectacular example of a woman who is undone by love. Gloria is a middle-aged single mother, trying to get back into the dating world. As we do in modern times, Gloria turns to the internet to find the new love of her life - she finds Michel, who is everything she has ever wanted: suave, educated, attentive, funny... but he also needs to borrow money from her, like immediately.

To say that the relationship between Michel and Gloria is toxic would be the understatement of the century. Gloria, swept away by her magical one night stand with Michel proceeds to stalk him and fly into a jealous rage when she finds him with other women. Michel is candid about his designs on Gloria and the other women in his life - he's there for as long as it takes to get as much money out of them as possible and his elaborate ruse leads to marriage and all kinds of fraud to get what he wants. Michel's detachment is cold and calculating, and the desperation with which Gloria clings to him is shocking and more than a little uncomfortable. As quick as one might be to label Michel as a sociopath (and also a dirtbag who uses women), Gloria is the true terror and Michel the captive, even though he struggles to maintain his position of control and power over Gloria through subtle manipulations. 

What is truly arresting about Alléluia is Dueñas' stunning portrayal of Gloria, a woman undone by her passions and careening towards madness. Gloria is not a character that you are supposed to like, in fact, ten minutes into the film I was unbelievably uncomfortable and hurling curses at my screen. However, against my will, Gloria is a character that I found myself connecting with. Gloria is not a shrinking violet; she is violent, determined, and focused in her obsession, and you have to admire that kind of tenacity. 

At its heart, Alléluia is a terrifying journey into the most toxic of relationships - Yes, there is blood and gore and some truly beautiful and terrifying imagery... but it is the performances of the lead actors that make Alléluia such a horrific triumph of a film. 

Head Honey Verdict: 4.5 body parts in the lake out of 5  
Revenge Honey Linnie

Kat did such a wonderful job discussing the characters of Alléluia, that I will instead focus on the directing of Fabrice Du Welz. Du Welz has long been one of my favorite independent directors, and I count Calvaire among my favorite films. His movies, including Calvaire and Vinyan, are not easy; they will challenge you, and sometimes, break you down and force you to reexamine everything you know about the world. This is the reason I believe truly great cinema exists, and Alléluia can be added to the list of truly great cinema.

Every scene in Du Welz's latest release is deliberately shot, at angles that force you into the position of voyeur. You are an accomplice to Gloria and Michel's crimes, a third-party to their love, and a horrified witness to their toxic relationship. Even when you want to look away, you can't, because the film is so beautiful, you're afraid you might miss something. Beauty and terror; these are Du Welz's tools and he is truly an artist when he wields them.

Alléluia is poetry, and it feels like a disservice to the film to discuss it too much. So watch it, absorb it, share it, let it change you, and then let it change the way you look at the world.

Revenge Honey Verdict: 5 murderous love songs out of 5

Alléluia is available for pre-order now before its official release on July 17, 2015!