Tuesday, 3 March 2020

The Lord Doesn't Hate You (2019) - Horror Film Review

Award winning The Lord Doesn't Hate You (Dio Non Ti Odia) is an Italian indie horror that is just oozing with atmosphere despite the low budget. It was directed by Fabrizio La Monica and is available both in colour and in black and white. The screener I had was the black and white version, which is fortuitous as that is the directors preferred version of the film.

This takes place in the middle ages and follows a man (Roberto Romano) who has taken his daughter (Emilia Passalacqua) on a journey into the mountains near to their village. The girl is sick, and there is a legend of a wise woman who lives at the top of the mountain who will be able to cure her. That is at least initially what appears to be going on. After the first act however the motive of this pilgrimage is brought into question, with revelations of a more sinister reason for the journey.

This is nearly evenly split into three acts. The first half hour is the man and his daughter and their travels. The prologue shows this same man, at some point in the future tied to a stake as villagers watch on, and so I was eager to see just what would happen for this to come to pass. The second act I found more frustrating, it went nearly into art house territory with even less dialogue, not an exaggeration to say this is quite a slow burn. Then for the third act a lot of questions are answered, and a key scene missing from the middle of the movie plays out to wrap everything up. The black and white perfectly went with this tortured journey, the forests and hills, as well as the basic, yet very well fitting mournful soundtrack all complimented each other very well.

There were two stand out performances here, and thankfully Romano is one of those stellar actors. He brings so much suffering and anguish to the role of a father forced to do something unspeakable for the betterment of his people. This is in Italian with English subtitles, yet I still found the way he said his lines to feel so raw, and he brings so much to his role by facial expressions alone. The other stand out actor was Ferdinando Gattuccio. Despite only appearing in the one scene, and having some questionable fake looking nails on his hands he brought with him a feeling of restrained power. Most the film is the father on his own, he just about helps the film survive some of these more isolated moments, but I did get a little bit bored in the middle of this film. Thankfully it does pick up again towards the end, and while it is no more action heavy I really loved the pure atmosphere of this almost fairy tale like story.

I really appreciate it when a film does something that really sets itself apart from other ones of its genre. This was a special movie to watch, dark and brooding, with a tragic story this was something fascinating to watch. It maybe gets a little bit too abstract in the middle, but the way information is provided to the viewer to change up previous scenes, and to set up future ones was clever. The Lord Doesn't Hate You is out now on DVD thanks to BayView Entertainment. The DVD includes both the colour and black and white versions of this film. The trailer is included below, be aware though it seems to spoil the entire thing!


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