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The Independent Critic

Julia Gratens, Damien Boisseau, Anne-Hélène Orvelin, Alex Dey, Stefen Eynius
Marie Vandelannoote

 "Le linceul" Bathed in the Atmosphere and Aura of Horror 

There is no difference between the real world and that of fantasy in 1920's Brittany, the setting for writer/director Marie Vandelannoote's atmospheric, intense indie horror short Le linceul, which translates into The Shroud in English. Katic (Julia Gratens) doesn't quite seem to understand this fact when we first meet her at the isolated, picturesque inn where she lives with her Aunt Adenora (Anne-Hélène Orvelin) and Uncle Yaneal (Damien Boisseau).

By the time she learns this lesson, it may very well be too late. 

To say that there is a lot of dread in Le Linceul would be an understatement. Margaux Magis's hypnotic, immersive lensing weaves itself around the ethereal, enveloping original music of Matthieu Lechowski and Vandelannoote's intentionally slower pacing that allows us time to experience this world and the dreadful reality that this family is trapped within it. 

Le linceul has already experienced quite a bit of success on the indie film festival circuit including prizes in the Independent Shorts Awards and being named a semi-finalist at LA CineFest. 

The thrust of the film's drama unfolds when two of Yaneal's friends arrive for a friendly game of poker that continues into the late hours of the night, games that seemingly transition into something far deeper as the conversation turns to bets and challenges that are far more than the usual friendly challenges between friends. Before long, Katic has accepted a challenge to complete three rounds of a neighboring graveyard. It's more of a taunt by the men who surround her, yet her more spiritually inspired aunt is more understandably wary. 

Running at just shy of 30 minutes, on the longer end of what would be considered a short film, Le linceul is the perfect length for the story that Vandelannoote wants to tell and the feelings that she wants to leave her audience experiencing. Gratens is absolutely mesmerizing here, an aching combination of not quite mature bravado and unspoken vulnerability. Both Boisseau and Orvelin are also top notch here, while the film's remaining players also give tremendous supporting turns. 

Sidney Billon's make-up is tremendously effective, while Melanie Fuchs's costuming and Marc Jaquemet's set decoration also elicit period appropriate vibes dipped in atmospheric horror. 

It is difficult to describe Le linceul without ruining what should be an experience untainted by overly revealing reviews or advance knowledge. Suffice it to say that this is a film that looks and feels like classic horror, yet benefits greatly from contemporary technology. If you get a chance, you'll definitely want to check it out. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic