Red Rooms


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Juliette Gariépy in the Quebec thriller Red Rooms in Competition at Karlovy Vary
"It is an assured and relentless exposé." | Photo: Courtesy of KVIFF

Pascal Plante, on his second feature outing (after Nadia, Butterfly in 2020) takes an original and forensic approach to what could have been a hackneyed subject: a serial killer.

Right from the start as he observes Kelly-Anne (Juliette Gariépy) start what looks like just another mundane day as she makes her way to the Superior Court of Quebec to observe the first day of the trial of Ludovic Chevalier (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos) who is accused of three murders. The deeds themselves are gruesome enough but they have been live-streamed for payment on the dark web “red room.”

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Kelly-Anne, it becomes clear, is obsessed with the killer and the various cases outlined in court. Her preoccupation with evil serves as a parallel to Society’s unhealthy obsession with the dark side of human nature.

Every day she slips into her ringside seat to view the proceedings by day and then by night explores the web and has virtual encounters.

Plante takes us on an uncomfortable journey into the minds of those for whom such crimes exert an inexorable grip. Besides Kelly-Anne another “groupie” emerges in the character of Clementine (Laurie Babin) who believes the accused has been framed. The two opposites develop a friendship of sorts - Kelly-Anne mainly austere and aloof while Clementine is a warm innocent at large who only realises too late that her cohort has spiralled out of control.

The narrative which concentrates more on those affected by the crimes than the deeds themselves, provides an atmosphere of powerful fascination which makes you want to look away but you find you cannot.

It is an assured and relentless exposé, switching between the psychological horrors and the clinical surroundings of the court-room where the accused spends the time in a glass box without a word of dialogue uttered.

Reviewed on: 22 Jul 2023
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A woman becomes obsessed with the trial of a murderer.

Director: Pascal Plante

Writer: Pascal Plante

Starring: Juliette Gariépy, Laurie Babin, Elisabeth Locas, Maxwell McCabe-Lokos

Year: 2023

Runtime: 118 minutes

Country: Canada

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