Simon, his girlfriend Nina, and their friend Dodo spend their day in the city of Frankfurt while on their way to Mallorca. While wondering through the city they accidentally find their way into Maison de La Petite Mort, a BDSM fetish club. While trying to avoid making a scene, they stay and order a drink but when one of the waitresses becomes too friendly with Simon, Nina and Dodo begin insulting the woman. Unfortunately for them, the waitress is one of the "daughters" of the club's owner Madame Fabienne and they don't take kindly to having their life style insulted. The trio soon finds out that in the La Petite Mort, death maybe their only escape.
"La Petite Mort"... A new movie from Germany with a plotline that contains a torture element to it, and Olaf Ittenbach did the special effects work on it. How can someone not be excited for this movie? Even though Marcel Walz is definitely not new to the horror genre, this would be the first time I've seen any of his work. Still, after the first time I watched the trailer and knowing all those who were involved in the project, it was still hard to not be excited for a chance to watch "La Petite Mort".
Granted at first glance at the synopsis of the movie, it's a story that has been covered before and that's all right. Sometimes it is better if someone makes a movie that's been done some what before and just adds their personal touches to it and just focuses on making something good. Rather than trying to "break new ground" and end up making a completely awful film. So yes, whether you're watching the movie or reading the plot synopsis, you know where the story is going to go when you've got a set of characters traveling to a location, getting into it with the locals, and the locals taking care of business the way they do. Like I said nothing wrong with that. Especially since what helps set "La Petite Mort" apart is what Marcel Walz and those involved in making the movie did and how they handled the material.
One of those things is that they let the movie build up momentum and anticipation. In these days of adrenaline fueled MTV kids with ADD; movies just go-go-go. They don't take the time to build up to something; with movies involving gore they give you a big gore gag right as the movie starts. Which is fine if the movie is intended to be nothing more than a splatter flick. With "La Petite Mort" they hold off on the torture to let the story and the movie progress, but it doesn't make the mistake of having a case of identity crisis. Where the movie starts off as a comedy or has an entirely different and unfitting tone in the beginning, then becomes a horror movie after a certain point. Instead "La Petite Mort" allows the audience to get to know the characters and get comfortable in our seats before getting to the point of making us squirm. Even then though, just when you think the violence, torture, and general mayhem is about to ensue it still takes it easy on the audience. Some sewing needles in arm...Mouse trap on a tongue...Child's play, right? Yes, I'm sure many will scoff thinking, "that's it?" But that's when the movie comes at you and just hits you like a big thump to the chest.
Now I'm not going to talk about the scenes themselves as I don't want to ruin all of the gore sequences. Especially the one that gets the nastiness rolling as it's just a great scene and one you need to see for yourself. One thing I would like to make a comment on though would be an assumption I had going into the movie, and maybe one you might have too. The fact that this movie is coming out of Germany, a country that does gore like no other, and that they also have Olaf Ittenbach doing the SPFX for the movie, I figured this was going to be a complete gore-fest. Now don't misunderstand me, this is a gory movie that has enough of gore that it'll satisfy any fan's bloodlust. But the movie doesn't take it over-the-top like you would expect with titles coming from Germany. It does take it that far at times with scenes such as a nasty scalping, but at the same time it does keep things to a reasonable and a more believable level. Rather than heading into cheesy-campy territory by having every gore gag sequence being over-the-top.
If I had any complaint against the movie, it would be with the ending. Now I'm quite sure people will disagree with me as I know this is more of a personal thing and I'm still not sure myself as to why it bothered me. But for me, the ending felt abrupt. The movie finally has this momentum built and is going full speed, but then everything just seems to come to a complete stop. Now that isn't to say it's a bad ending, because the ending does wrap everything up and brings the story and the movie to a conclusion. Still, there was just something with the way it ended that left me feeling like there was something more even after it was over.
Other than that though, the excited feeling I had while waiting for a chance to watch the movie was fulfilled quite well by the final product. It's a harsh and nasty flick when it wants to be and you can feel the mean spirited-ness when watching it. It certainly won't have you running to the bathroom, but it will probably leave the light-weights feeling uneasy and the rest of us satisfied. I'm sure some will be disappointed by the fact it's not a gore-fest movie, but I'm glad it's not. Instead of getting a senseless gore we get a well made movie that has the right blend of story and sadistic violence that doesn't weigh too heavily on one side or the other. Not to mention the fantastic cinematography the movie has that kind of makes you realize how dull and uninspired most movies are these days. Now I'm not trying to make the movie sound like it's perfect as it does have its moments where the movie does get cheesy and at times, stumbles a bit. Though how enjoyable the overall viewing experience, I feel, makes up for any of those lacking moments, "La Petite Mort" is just a great watch for what it is.