December 8, 2021

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[Review] Marianne, the new name for French horror?

We thought that French-produced Netflix would only offer comics and/or romance series, now the platform surprised us by launching Marianne, a horror show with what a wizard and treasure needed. A journey off the beaten track that we can’t wait to see if we’ll make it out alive… or not.

Emma is a successful novelist who built her fame from a series of horror books around the witch Marianne. But when he signs the final chapter with the desire to continue, he realizes that behind the fiction hides a reality that will take him back to where it all began… The comparisons to The Hauting of Hill House are clear. inevitable start. First, because Netflix’s horror series aren’t legion. Then due to a certain chauvinism, we wanted the French production to come close to the slap that Mike Flanagan offered last year (and who is preparing for his return). And we can safely say that if Marianne didn’t have the guns to storm the Hill house — and we’re going back to it — the Samuel Bodin Show (Lazy Company) went to great lengths to convince us of her good intentions. Already, it must be admitted, this series provides the maximum to make our arm hairs stand on end.

When attacking a codified genre, the hardest part is managing to surprise the viewer to produce the desired effect, when he or she has seen someone else. From this point of view, Marianne did not achieve anything original and was satisfied with the chain effect seen time and again, but she did it with great efficiency. With a pleasant sense of rhythm and staging playing on our hopes and fears, Samuel Bodin strives to constantly create discomfort when you’re not squeaking by pulling the armrests off the couch. If we assume that the first purpose of a horror series is to prevent us from sleeping, then we can’t blame Marianne for being very sadistic. In terms of atmosphere, we are very happy. A thrill powered by THE revelation of the series: Mireille Herbestmeyer. If his name means anything to you, his devilish smile and big crazy eyes might haunt you at night. Behind her appearance as a weak grandmother, the actress terrorizes us with every appearance. Yes, Marianne is a pure horror series with all the attributes that go with it, proving that France can do great things like this if given the means.

However, we won’t be too quick to shout victory, because if Marianne knows how to scare, she’s often clumsy about giving her story substance. To begin with, humor is pinned here and there so we can breathe. A commendable idea, but disliked because it interferes with the overall mood and emotions of the characters. It’s hard to take Emma’s misfortune seriously when she bids on autographed police calls or when the gang plays the Goonies on us. A symptomatic example of a common writing problem around the protagonist. Despite her plight and episodes centered on her past, Emma’s narcissistic character and quirks make her an ominous “heroine” who never bonded with her. The half-hearted play of Victoire du Bois doesn’t help, playing a broken rebel side,

On the other hand, Alban Lenoir is doing his best with his role as a comics inspector even though he himself can’t be taken seriously. It shows fully with the first tier that surrounds it and we end up wondering if it wasn’t from a crossover with another series. As for supporting roles, they didn’t quite break their bond with Emma to actually exist. This is where the comparison to The Hauting of Hill House hurts the most: no emotion emerges from the small squad to which the Crain family ties bring Flanagan’s show. So, Marianne shines when she wants to scare us and fails once she takes an interest in her victims. However, we’ll avoid talking about semi-success or semi-failure (depending on your look in the mirror) as the series has the benefit of trying and succeeding at its basic ingredient: horror. An entertaining appetizer while waiting to see what The Hauting of Hill House’s dad will do for the sequel. And if it can make other people want to dive into the series genre with so much desire to do well, we won’t spit.