The death of Raymond's mother throws him into a ride of crime when he dumps her body in a ditch. His sister comes back home to help him, but she doesn't believe him when he says their mother is dead - it must be a Halloween prank! The siblings are now facing more than they can handle, and they have to keep it as quiet as possible. The bodies in the basement begin to pile up.
I sought out "Cadavres" after finding that it was a crime flick with dark comedy, as that happens to be something I enjoy. Even Hollywood seems to be able to make decent dark comedy/crime flicks where the jokes are cruel, people die and the tone is pitch-black. I was more than a little interested in seeing what French Canada (Quebec, if you want to go into details) could do as there are hundreds of fantastic filmmakers and films coming out of those parts of Canada. Always with a slightly more artistic touch, and they're not afraid of going a bit further into the darkness. "Cadavres" is almost exactly what you get if you dip a Hollywood dark comedy/crime film in the blood of Canada.
The tone is set from the get-go where Raymond and his mother are in a car late one Halloween night, and they're arguing. The mother draws a gun on Raymond, but quickly changes the direction of it to her own mouth. But she doesn't pull the trigger then either, rather it is Raymond himself who shoots his mother after she begs him to. He dumps her body in a ditch, and then goes to a pay phone to call his sister, a famous actress from a crime show. She comes home, but obviously doesn't believe Raymond. She especially doesn't believe him when the body they pull up is of a man - but they're in on it together, and bury the man in Raymond's basement. This sets off a number of meetings with criminals and cops. The people who killed the man they find show up, and this is just the start of it all. Throw in a subplot of incesteous feelings, some trippy experimentation and editing, pitch-black comedy as well as fucked-up and completely weird comedy (like spinning on the tip of your cock) and you have "Cadavres".
It's not the disgusting movie some claim it is, but it has some really bizarre moments - some more gross than others. You need to remember that this is a comedy. A rather offensive comedy, of course, but a comedy all the same. You won't turn it off because it's too much (not even in the incesteous scenes) because it's simply not that kind of a movie. It is however a really entertaining movie with a strange pace. At times nothing happens, and in other times everything happens! I quite liked it, because even when it's slower it's amusing and inappropriate. It goes to show that maybe you don't need to pack your crime films with twists here and there and lots going on constantly. Some films can be entertaining simply by having our characters at home, trying to avoid being caught. And getting their mother's corpse back. Don't get be wrong, it's NOT a slow movie, but there are parts that are SLOWER. It won't bore you, and it's not a one-track story either (sometimes the subplots are more fun to follow).
Okay, so what makes "Cadavres" gross and bizarre? Well, it's in the tone from start to finish - the Raymond character is slimey and weird, but also likable. Then we have his sexual urges for his sister (who also walk around naked in front of him, giving him "looks"), the inappropriate opening of killing his own mother, the two criminals diving in sewage water to get their drugs back, a certain visit to the bathroom ending up in double murder, an awkward sex scene and the spinning-on-the-cock-trick. It's almost all in good fun, just to be inappropriately funny. Which it often is, but I never laughed out loud so it's somewhere inbetween. I think the movie balances perfectly between the tones, and that's what makes me enjoy it as much as I do. It's not ONLY trying to make you laugh.
I won't class this as arthouse, but there is some artistic merit in editing and lighting. It's a slick-looking film, but also very gritty (which at times reminds me of "Ex Drummer"). There are trippy parts that might not be entirely needed, but because the film is as crazy as it is, it fits in perfectly. Just another level to "Cadavres" that makes it a bit different. The set-up is very traditional with darker Hollywood comedies, but the "Quebecness" comes out in parts like the style, the sexuality and the violence.
If you want to have fun for about 2 hours, "Cadavres" isn't such a bad film to check out. It packs gross-out humour, an inappropriate family story, an alright amount of nudity and violence, and a sense of style. You can't ask for much more if you're just out for a unique but good time, can you? Definitely a film to check out!