5150 Elm's Way (5150 Rue des Ormes) (2009)

More than "berk gets locked in room".
Posted on by

5150 Elm's Way AKA 5150 Rue des Ormes - More than "berk gets locked in room"

In the past ten years or so, horror has really tried to out-do itself in the brutality stakes to the point where we now accept that people often do get tied to chairs and royally fucked up by people brandishing kitchen implements. It's a thing. "Torture porn" is a thing. We might not like the term, but we know what's implied by it. Thing is, as filmmakers try and cram more and more vileness onto the screen, they seem to find it more and more of a challenge to make us give a shit about the person tied to the chair. And, for me, if I don't give a toss about the characters, then I don't really care about what happens to them. Somehow that's different to how I view a straight-up gore movie; arterial spray on screen is just dandy whatever, but torture and torment just wash right over me if it's not all happening to someone plausible and at least a bit sympathetic. 5150 Rue des Ormes at first seemed like it was going to fail on this front. The initial general idiocy of its central character did seem as though it was going to render whatever was about to happen to him null and void. However, it didn't take long for the film to show that it had some interesting ideas and although it seemed like it was going to be yet another torture porn style film, it soon progressed beyond that into something altogether better.

I mentioned the general idiocy of the central character – well, this would be an early twentysomething by the name of Yannick (Marc-André Grondin), just moved out of home ready to start on his film studies course (and yes, he does use a handycam at certain points in the film – thankfully not too much though, and he doesn't film his feet at all). Whilst riding his push-bike down the quiet suburban street which gives the film its title, he buggers over the handlebars in a probably unintentionally funny scene. Bleeding and in need of a taxi home, he knocks on the door of the Beaulieu family to ask for help. Mr. Beaulieu says he'll call him a cab… at which point Yannick decides to snoop around his house, finding a man injured and begging for help in one of the bedrooms. If he'd just have bloody waited out front, he wouldn't then have been caught in the act by Jacques, and then locked in the room himself. Typical.

I had a horrible feeling that this was as far as the film was going to go – berk gets locked in room and tormented to death – as several films have done before it. Thankfully though, the film soon warms up and gives us a few things to ponder. The Beaulieu family – all of whom know what's going on – are often quite nice people, certainly no bunch of murderous hicks. There is method to Jacques' madness, for he considers it to be his religious duty to bump off "the unrighteous". Yannick isn't one of these people, but he creates a quandary for Jacques by nosing around and seeing too much, which creates the problem of what to do with him. Meanwhile, wife Maude is more ambivalent about her husband's actions, except that she finds it difficult to give voice to this due to her religious beliefs which state that her husband runs the show. Yannick senses that she has a weakness, and he tries hard to exploit it. You can see pretty early on that Yannick's presence in the Beaulieu household is going to be a catalyst of some sort with regards relationships in the family, but how it gets explored is entertaining and dare I say, ambitious, going off in directions I hadn't anticipated. A technically skilled piece of cinema, it throws in some clever shots and scenes, even making use of decent hallucinatory sequences in a way which added plenty to the film.

Although Yannick starts life as a fairly annoying character – and there are irritating, frustrating moments in the film for sure – he does develop into something more, in particular working well on screen in scenes he shares with his captor. Normand D'Amour as Jacques performs brilliantly, alternating between a calm average Joe and a maniac very well, and credit has to go to Élodie Larivière who plays Maude, a decent woman all in all, one who loves her family and simply lacks the courage to defy Jacques, even though that means she is living in a hell of her own.

Sure, 5150 Rue des Ormes mixes the unlikely with the very unlikely, but it does a good job of balancing its strangeness with its humanity. If I thought I wouldn't warm to this one, well, I was wrong, It doesn't skimp on shocks, it has plenty of tension and it tells an engagingly horrible story, plus it has the nous to give us a jagged, unpredictable ending too.
This review was posted on by

5150 Elm's Way (5150 Rue des Ormes): Movie Information

5150 Elm's Way (5150 Rue des Ormes): Related Images

5150 Elm's Way (5150 Rue des Ormes): External Links