France, in the year 1663. A meteor falls to Earth and shocks a pretty maid to her core. She flees into the nearby woods but to no avail: something is alive, burrowing into the soil, and intent on racing through the land in a bid to catch up with her ...

Fast-forward to present day and some horrible prog-rock, and we meet three law students: Yann (Yann Sundberg), Thomas (Thomas Vallegeas) and Vincent (Vincent Lecompte). They're hoping to celebrate graduation with a vacation into the French countryside.

Yann brings along girlfriend Karine and, just to ensure the numbers are even, he arranges for two more girlies to be picked up along the way. Unfortunately manic gamer Vincent is not interested in the obliging (and cute) Tina.

As night falls, the sextet set off in search of a break. It's not long before they stop off at the obligatory abandoned petrol station and run into hitchhiker Sebastian (Patrick Mons). They offer to take him along for the ride. But he turns out to be a little odd ... He's not the escaped psychopath that the car radio has warned them against, is he?!

Could be. But it hardly matters as, following a passage of amusing weirdness in the car with Sebastian, something altogether weirder and sinister occurs in the woods - and RESONNANCES ups several gears ...

This film is a veritable mish-mash of ideas culled from so many other genre classics. The first image recalls John Carpenter's THE THING. Later, we're inspired to think of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, THE EVIL DEAD, TREMORS, FRIDAY THE 13TH ... even BAD TASTE!

It's clearly been made on a micro budget by writer-director-producer-cinematographer Philippe Robert, and appears to be a labour of love for him just as BAD TASTE was for Peter Jackson 20-odd years ago.

I mention BAD TASTE again as RESONNANCES does have parallels, and not just in terms of panache and visual creativity. Here, we have another witty horror film that experiments with ambitious FX and camerawork on no budget to presumably showcase what Jack-of-all-trades Robert is capable off. As calling cards go, I reckon it could well do the trick for him.

Even better though, from our perspective, it's actually a good film.

It starts off in uninspiring fashion - three male youths who are very much like watered-down French variants of your average American horror film teen pricks, venture into the countryside and meet something wicked. Where RESONNANCES impresses is not with any level of originality (although the storyline becomes increasingly rewarding in a bizarre sense, the film remains conventional in terms of camerawork, editing, score etc) but the sheer verve of the direction and sense of scale that the surprisingly good CGI effects elicit (helicopters; cars being launched through the sky; huge explosions - frequently incredible stuff) can't fail to make an impact on willing viewers.

Reasonably well acted and shot, the film is most notable however for the above use of CGI to raise it above its budgetary limitations. And, of course, the taut skill that Robert brings to the table. He's a talent, technically, and I'm keen to see how he develops from here.

RESONNANCES comes to DVD courtesy of Synapse, fully uncut in a non-enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The distributors do explain on the back cover that the film was "shot on non-anamorphic standard definition video with a very limited budget", hence the lack of enhancement.

Considering the lo-fi recording techniques and the clearly shoestring budget, RESONNANCES looks pretty good on DVD. Compression and artefacting are minimal: Synapse have mastered this film well. But the transfer, of course, has its limitations based purely upon the source material. Blacks are never black, images are a tad soft and the whole thing does scream out "shot on video" - albeit, it's the best representation of such that I can recall. Unless you're a total HD snob, don't be put off ... this is perfectly watchable.

French audio is offered in 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. Both sound very good: clear, clean and even balanced. Optional English subtitles are well-written and easy to read.

The disc opens with a nice animated main menu page which plays on the film's sci-fi leanings. A static scene-selection menu allows access to the main feature via the customary 12 chapters.

The only extra on this region-free disc is the film's original 2-minute trailer (1.85:1, French 2.0 with optional English subtitles).

RESONNANCES shows how a good film can be made from nowt if you've got the grit and talent to do so. It's highly impressive in this regard. What's potentially more impressive is that Synapse have stuck their neck out by releasing the film onto US DVD.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Synapse Films
Region 1
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review