Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Sheitan tells the story of a bunch of teenagers who run smack-dab into Joseph (Vince Cassel(, an inbred caretaker who worships Satan.
Is it good movie?
I really didn't know what to expect when I popped Sheitan into my DVD player. What I got was an absolute sensory assault which was pure overload, and I still can't decide whether or not I truly enjoyed it.
In the vein of Deliverance, the awesome French film Calvaire, The Hills Have Eyes or even Wrong Turn, Sheitan is a 'mutated townsfolk' type of movie where kids end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, to end up getting killed one by one. However, while it is indeed placed in that aforementioned subcategory, this flick has its own sensibility that sets it apart in several unsettling ways. These aren't typical, overall-wearing inbred folk; these people are introduced bathing/swimming together in hot springs while making out. Keep in mind folks, these people are brothers and sisters.
The fun doesn't stop there though, Joseph, the main character, has a wife who's about to give birth to the child of Satan himself, and things begin to get messy here. A night of satanic worship ends up as not-quite-the-party these disposable teens were looking for.
Sheitan plays almost like a black comedy, and its pace is unfortunately rather slow, with some bizarre choices made in the writing. Why would these horny teenagers leave their dance club to stay in a barn in the middle of nowhere? Why would they agree to go, how could this possibly sounds alluring enough? And another thing- these teens are all so terribly written, their characters are awful, reprehensible; we want them to get axed.
These minor gripes aside, Sheitan is really quite original and my words can't really do it justice. Please make sure that you stick through this film until the end, the last half an hour or so delivers a huge, insane payoff. It plays like a frenetic, bizarre dream. It's offensive, and mildly funny, and also attempts to toss in a bit of social satire, but that doesn't always work. The best thing about Sheitan was definitely Vince Cassel- his performance is fantastic, and I think he really makes the film. It's impossible to take your eyes off of him, and he just owns the screen.
If you're looking for gore and guts, check something else. However, if you're looking for a crazy, wild, original flick that is unlike almost anything you've ever seen, check this one out. It's offensive, bizarre, disturbing, and at times quite funny.
Video / Audio
Video's a good, crisp anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks great, as most DV films do.
Audio is also very nice, we get a Dolby 2.0 stereo track. a 5.1 surround track as well as a DTS surround track.
On the extras menu, we have soup that's thin, but tasty.
The making of feature runs about 25 minutes, and details the ambition of Vince Cassel and the independent filmmakers who crafted this one, Kourtrajme. Really interesting stuff.
There's also a few trailers here.
In the end, I thought that Sheitan succeeded as an original and bizarre fever-dream type take on the horror genre. I didn't think it was overly scary or well plotted, but Vince Cassel's performance and the original directing and editing made it worth watching. I can't run out and recommend this flick, but if someone you know is asking you to check it out, definitely do it.