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La Nuit des Traquées

Nuit des Traquées, La (1980) Movie Poster
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France  •    •  87m  •    •  Directed by: Jean Rollin.  •  Starring: Brigitte Lahaie, Vincent Gardère, Dominique Journet, Bernard Papineau, Rachel Mhas, Cathy Stewart, Natalie Perrey, Christiane Farina, Élodie Delage, Jean Hérel, Jacques Gall, Dominique Saint-Cyr, Gregoire Cherlian.  •  Music by: Philippe Bréjean.
       On a cold dark night a mysterious blonde girl is seen running around in the woods. It's Elisabeth, who has escaped from a high-rise prison, where people are kept who have been contaminated by an environmental accident. Their thoughts, memories and emotions are slowly eaten away by disease, turning them into sad, helpless creatures. A young man has fallen in love with Elisabeth and tries to help her escape. But the clinic's henchmen are ruthless.

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   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 3:28
 
 

Review:

Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
Image from: Nuit des Traquées, La (1980)
"Night of the Hunted" has a great opening. A man drives down a road at night, the ethereal soundtrack playing. He picks up a strange woman. She is confused and can't remember much. The first woman has left a nude girl behind. Welcome back to the weird world of Jean Rollin.

This film was Rollin's first non-pornographic effort after "Fascination" and the two have much in common. Both star the lovely Bridget Lahaie. Like "Fascination," "Night of the Hunted" is the filmmaker breaking from his usual subject matter of frequently naked vampires. Both have a more accessible storyline then the director's usual fair. Both brush up against soft core. Despite the similarities, "Night of the Hunted" isn't as good as "Fascination." The film isn't obviously horror at first. The story revolves around a mental hospital where people have their memories wiped, leaving the victims confused. The reasoning behind this is never explained. To be expected, the set-up is used more to explore potential themes. The inhabitants of the apartment are in a constant state of existential crisis. One girl, Lahaie's roommate, can't even feed herself without breaking down. Another woman cries out constantly for a missing child she can't remember. One man seems to be constantly in the throes of a nervous breakdown. The logistics of the memory loss are inconsistent. The janitor, another victim, seems to have a solid grip on his mind. Lahaie goes back and forth, sometime appearing lucid, other times insecure. While in the throes of orgasm with the man who rescued her, Lahaie swears to never forget this experience. She does anyway. I can't tell if this is intentional or sloppy writing.

The biggest problem with "Night of the Hunted" is pacing. Its start off strong and Robert, the man, rescuing this beautiful, strange girl is fairly captivating. When she's taken back to the hospital, the film degrades into a series of more-or-less unrelated sequences. The roommate cries into her lobster soup. The janitor rapes a girl before a random man beats him to death with a hammer. The roommate stabs herself in the eyes. A nurse seduces the nervous man but he looses it mid-coitous and strangles her. The friendship between Elizabeth and Veronique tries to create a center to the story. Two female leads are a Rollin trademark but Veronique is a weak character so it's hard for the audience to relate.

Near the end, Robert shows up in an attempt to rescue his girl. Suddenly, the movie features a lot of gun play, people getting shot left and right. It's revealed that the hospital is killing and burning the body of the amnesic patients. Why? Shrugs. "Night of the Hunted" wraps up on a hauntingly poetic image: Two lobotomized lovers walking off hand in hand. The movie needed more poetic moments like that. The film isn't bad Rollin but it's uneven Rollin.


Review by Bonehead-XL from the Internet Movie Database.