31st Aug2015

Frightfest 2015: ‘Night Fare’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Fanny Valette, Jonathan Howard, Jonathan Demurger, Jess Liaudin | Written by Cyril Ferment, Julien Seri, Pascal Sid | Directed by Julien Seri


I love it when a movie subverts your expectations…

Following the traditional slasher movie framework, Night Fare sees two best friends, Luc and Chris, reunited after a year. A year they’ve spent apart for some (mysterious, to be revealed later) reason. With their relationship on a rocky ground, the pair are further strained by their love for the same woman, Ludivine. However those issues are the least of their worries after – whilst on their way to a party – they skip out of a Parisian taxi without paying the fare. Big mistake. This taxi driver doesn’t take to fare dodgers lightly and the mystery motorist hunts the duo down all night long killing everyone that gets in his way.

Stylistically inspired by Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Drive with a score that, like Frightfest’s other French thriller Road Games, features music from Carpenter Brut, this French fear flick is a multi-layered journey across the dark streets of Paris. At once part slasher movie, part killer-car flick and – suprisingly – part Samurai tale.

Taking cues from the likes of Duel and The Car, Night Fare makes much of the cab drivers muscle car, which is as intergral to the fear felt in this film as the driver himself. With it’s brutish look, the deep roar of the engine, the taxi mirrors the man behind the wheel. In Night Fare‘s case, man and machine are one, working together to… well that’s where things get VERY interesting.

There’s undoubtedly an expectation that Night Fare will, at some point, see its villain finally get his comeuppance and the hands of the hero. And he does. Only the taxi driver is NOT this films villain! There are clues interspersed throughout the film that the taxi driver may not be as viscious as his actions dictate. He kills a man for abusing a dog, leaves one incorruptible cop alive; there are just enough breadcrumbs to realise that this killer cab driver may yet let his prey live. But to see  director Julien Seri turn the film on its head, in the way that he does, is a joy to watch.

Expecting a viscious and no doubt brutal ending for Luc after he’s captured by the killer cabbie – after all this is a French film, it really could have gone all Martyrs if it wanted, without the audience so much as batting an eyelid – Seri instead brings in the traditions of the samurai into Night Fare, revealing that the audience’s fear was misplaced all along. Our killer is not the madman he appeared to be but a man of honour, who lives his life by a code that makes him a better man than the “heroes” he’s been chasing.

It’s a wonderful revelation that makes you question not only the film but also yourself. How you live your life, how you treat and percieve others. Whether you are living the life you can, to the best of your potential. It’s mind-blowing that a horror movie, set on the streets of Paris and set to a synth soundtrack, can acheieve that. It’s a perfect example of how horror movies, so often decried by those that think it all blood and guts, can be so much more than what appears on the surface, reflecting themes and ideas that you often don’t find in other genres.

One of the real surprises of this years Frightfest, Night Fare is one of the most uplifting and life-affirming horror movies you’re ever likely to see. Unmissable.

***** 5/5

2 Responses to “Frightfest 2015: ‘Night Fare’ Review”

  • Jason

    Why have you given away the whole plot of the film? You’ve ruined it for others by spoiling the ending.

    • Phil Wheat

      Simply because that twist elevates Night Fare a great movie to a SUPERB movie. It’s the key point that makes the film stand head and shoulders above others like it… And there’s no way to discuss how brilliant the movie is otherwise