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5150 Elm's Way
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5150 Elm's Way (2009)

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Plot Summary:
"5150 ELM'S WAY is located at the end of a quiet street in a small town. When Yannick fell off his bike, he knocked at the door of the Beaulieu residence so he could clean the blood off his hands. But Jack Beaulieu and his family had other plans for Ian. Beaulieu is a righteous psychopath and fanatic chess player who wants to rid the world of evil. And even though Ian has done nothing wrong, he is beaten, tortured and tormented before Beaulieu makes him an offer: win at chess and he is free to go. And so Ian is now a pawn in Beaulieu 's game. A game in which he will either lose his mind or his life."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 30 April 2012 My Rating: out of 5


Film student Marc-André Grondin falls off his bicycle and gets a few cuts and grazes. He knocks on the door at the title address and asks homeowner Normand D’Amour if he can make a call for a taxi. Unfortunately, once inside, Grondin sees something he shouldn’t, and before long he finds himself imprisoned, until D’Amour can figure out what to do with him. It turns out that D’Amour is a very righteous man, and he does not like anyone he does not see as being righteous, and sees fit to kill those who are not as righteous as he. Sonia Vachon is D’Amour’s completely submissive wife, who appears to believe in the policy of ‘ignorance is bliss’. Mylène St-Sauveur is the eldest daughter, whom daddy has ideas of grooming into his apprentice. D’Amour is also quite the expert at chess, in fact he claims never to have been beaten. Grondin will attempt to use all of these elements to his advantage in order to escape his current predicament.

Directed by Éris Tessier, this 2009 film is like a French-Canadian precursor to “The Loved Ones”, only terribly written by screenwriter Patrick Senécal (apparently adapting his own book). The plot gets off and running fairly quickly, and there’s a good piano score, but actor Normand D’Amour is far too bland and low-key as the lead menace, and the characters of his wife and kids just took too long to really add up, I got frustrated with them. The daughter in particular, never seemed to make sense to me, whilst the mother was just a cliché. D’Amour just doesn’t suggest enough menace to have such a hold over his family to be credible.

I also didn’t like the visions/delusions of the main character played by Grondin. It seemed tacked on, we never get a sense beforehand that he’d be prone to such wanderings of the mind. The cutaways to news reports are also useless, not to mention way too brief to add anything. If we got to know Grondin’s parents, that might be something, but we don’t.

Once D’Amour’s self-righteousness takes hold and the film turns into a horror version of “The Seventh Seal”, he and the film get better. Once you find out what the whole deal is, it’s pretty messed up and original (not to mention a kid gets shot-gunned! Wow!), but I grew extremely impatient with this film. It took wading through a whole lot of nothing in order to get to a small amount of something, and by then, I didn’t really care. The ending is unsatisfying, leaving more questions than are answered.

A poor film made from parts of much better films, not to mention TV’s “Dexter”. I didn’t enjoy this one much at all.

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