Artsploitation Films has a knack for releasing some very interesting films, many of which I would never even hear about if it weren’t for the indie studio’s distribution. There are plenty of films in the catalog I have yet to see, but the ones I have had the pleasure of viewing have all been entertaining in their own unique way. While it isn’t my favorite of the bunch, Raphael Neal’s Fever is no different in its uniqueness and originality.
High school students and best friends, Damien (Martin Loizillon) and Pierre (Pierre Moure), murder a woman in an apartment on a busy street. With no real evidence or concrete proof, the boys get away with their crime seemingly unpunished. As the secret festers inside of them, however, the boys begin to cope with keeping silent about it in different ways.
I am a big fan of what Artsploitation is doing with their filmography, releasing genre films from all over the globe, and am always intrigued to check out their latest releases. Naturally, after hearing multiple good reports, I was very excited to click play on Fever. As the film started to progress, I began trying to predict what was to happen. I was analyzing the boys’ relationships with not only each other, but with their families and their schoolmates, too. I had it all pegged out — Pierre, the quiet one, comes from a somewhat ‘stressed’ household where mother and father don’t get along, while Damien, the more explicitly honest and crude of the pair comes from a wealthy family that seems to have it all put together. Initially, Pierre shows signs of guilt and remorse, as Damien seems to not care one bit; He just goes on about his days as if nothing of this magnitude ever occurred. Then the film kind of flips the script, never really getting back to what I thought was going to happen.
Fever starts out as a somewhat predictable film, but quickly shifts to a strangely abstract piece. I may be missing a huge chunk of something here, but it seems like the boys kind of forget about their situation and become obsessed with this book that they were assigned to read for school. A good chunk of the film then shows the boys researching for the book, pulling articles and videos from the internet. What this has to do with their murderous crime is lost on me, and it really took me out of the film all together. The sad thing is that I was never really able to get my interest back from that point forward.
In addition to what seems like the plot straying from its original target, there is an odd side-plot, which concerns the personal life of Zoe (Julie-Marie Parmentier), a woman who literally ran into the boys moments after the crime took place. She is seen throughout the film with her boyfriend, whom she ends up breaking up with after 12 years. Again, what does this have to do with anything…?
Fever features some good performances by its cast and a unique presentation, but unfortunately, it was not my cup of tea. I expected a crime drama that looked inside the minds of two young killers, but instead got an abstract film about two boys studying Nazi war times and a woman intrigued by two young killers. Perhaps my mind just doesn’t work on the same wavelength as others, but overall I was rather disappointed.
Be sure to give Fever a watch and let me know what your thoughts are on the film and its message. I’d love to hear others’ takes on this one. You can purchase a copy on DVD from Artsploitation Films today.
I give this French genre flick 2 opticians out of 5.