September 2011. Two months after I started working here at Bloody-Disgusting, I found myself pulling news duty while Mr. Disgusting was reporting in from TIFF. I wasn’t very familiar with the way the festival worked at the time and had no idea that its Midnight Madness section was such a traditionally fertile ground to introduce great new horror films to the marketplace.
One film that had a lot of heat going into the fest – and not necessarily a lot of heat coming out – was Livide (now Livid) from Inside directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. Their gory debut film had people primed for another bloodbath, but what they got was something much, much different.
From Mr. Disgusting’s (quite positive) review, “Livid is not going to make fans of Inside happy. In fact, I expect most of you to despise it with pure venom. But I implore you all to manage your expectations, shift your thinking, and go in with a clear mind. My hope is that you’ll find a place in your heart for this moody art house horror pic, one that’s sure to be trashed across the board.”
Happily, it didn’t get trashed across the board, but then again the board’s not that big. Livide currently has an 88% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with only one negative review. Of course, there are only 8 reviews, mostly from TIFF and Fantastic Fest. So what happened? Unlike most films that play Midnight Madness, Livide already had US distribution through the Weinstein Company and Dimension. But it hasn’t come out yet. And its international distro has hardly been thorough either with what looks like a theatrical release in France and some scattered DVD issues here and there.
So what’s the deal? The film was more or less well received but is admittedly hard to market. Did Dimension get gun shy and decide to cut their losses and save on P&A? Are they adjusting the release to account for (and perhaps benefit from) their upcoming American remake? Or did they buy with the intention of burying it as fertilizer for said remake? It’s sort of strange that we haven’t heard anything.
Either way, remember Livide?