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  • Writer's pictureDeven Shah

Climax ★★☆☆☆


I am going to start this off by saying I do not agree with the general consensus online. I heard of this movie on an A24 forum in which someone said this movie did three things: over-stimulate you in a way you haven't felt before by a movie, make you feel extremely uncomfortable/distressed, and 'tripped out' (which I didn't understand until I watched it). I will say I felt all of these things happen and did not like it at all. The story follows a group of dancers in France who want to make it big. After a lengthy dance number, the group decides to party in the abandoned school that they are in, and they all drink a Sangria concoction. Soon they start acting weird and realize that someone has lethally drugged their Sangria, and this sends the dancers into a night-mare fueled spiral of drug-induced paranoia and disturbing actions. For the people online calling this movie 'genius', I will explain why I don't feel this way. First off, the film has three distinct parts. The first 40 ish minutes in which the dancers are interviewed (providing great character development) along with a lengthy one-take dance sequence that lasts at least 15 minutes. Then the next 20 ish minutes in which the dancers drink the drink, dance, and slowly start showing signs of being drugged through conversations seen with each other. The final 40+ minutes of the movie is a one-take (from the second the pov shot of the Sangria ends to the police walking in the door is around 43 minutes) of what I think is the most distressing thing I've seen in a movie. This one take shows no mercy with countless minutes of people crying, screaming, harming each other in disturbing ways, dancing themselves to death, and other nightmare-fueled things that I can only describe as an endurance test for finishing this film. The one take makes the entire experience feel extremely realistic, and the flashing lights and pulsing dance track that plays throughout adds to the level of horror in the film. There were scenes of people just dancing and crying uncontrollably for maybe 5 minutes straight, and the strobe lights did not help at all. I was extremely uncomfortable watching this and I have never had to check how much time is left on a movie (only to see 30 minutes still left), and to those who call this movie incredible due to this feeling, I will have to disagree. I do understand that everything I felt while watching this drug-induced nightmare was deliberate and I will say it is cool from a film stand-point that someone could create such intense emotions. The most distressing part of the film was supposed to be when the camera flips upside down for ten minutes to show the ultimate fate of the dancers, and the film ramps up the strobe lights and the music in what was the hardest-watch ending I have ever witnessed. The intention of the ending was for the audience to feel out of breath, and I literally felt like I couldn't breathe during the ending as I was overstimulated in a way I haven't been before. Again, I see why people like this movie due to how 'cool' it is that someone has created such emotions though a film, but those emotions were not enjoyable for me whatsoever. Despite the cool dance sequences in the beginning and the really creative camera shots at the end, and I really cannot recommend this to anyone unless you want to test your emotional endurance to the max.

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