My Animal

Par Magdalena Nitchi

My Animal, le premier long métrage de la réalisatrice Jacqueline Castel, est un film romantique d’horreur vif et hypnotisant sur l’amour saphique et les loups-garous. J’ai assisté à une projection de ce film au festival de film d’horreur Blood in the Snow, et j’ai été accrochée dès la première minute.

L’intrigue suit Heather, une adolescente isolée qui aspire à devenir gardienne de but de hockey. Cependant, la malédiction lycanthropique qui coule dans son sang, ainsi que sa mère autoritaire, rendent la réalisation de ses rêves difficile. Heather est également attirée par les femmes, ce qu’elle doit cacher à ses pairs et à sa famille. Lorsqu’elle rencontre Jonny, une patineuse troublée, l’alchimie entre les deux filles est indéniable. Heather sera-t-elle capable de gérer sa malédiction et ses sentiments grandissants dans une ville qui refuse de l’accepter?

L’atmosphère intense du film m’a coupé le souffle. De la coloration des scènes, dont beaucoup sont teintées de rouge ou de bleu, jusqu’à la parfaite bande-son de synthétiseur maussade, tout transmet l’étrangeté d’un conte gothique. Les scènes psychédéliques des fantaisies explicites de Heather concernant Jonny, qui débutent avec de la sensualité plutôt normale puis dégénèrent en violence et en finissent par des transformations en loup-garou sanguinaire, étaient aussi belles qu’horribles. Le choix de tourner dans un vrai village fait ressortir les nombreuses scènes de nuit, dans lesquelles l’obscurité totale consume à la fois les personnages et les spectateurs.

Même si les scènes sexuelles dans ce film ne sont pas pour tout le monde, je le recommande très fortement. Bien qu’il existe plusieurs films de loup-garou qui traitent de l’adolescence, des histoires saphiques dans ce genre sont plutôt rares. L’horreur est plus psychologique que physique, et le drame s’accorde parfaitement avec les quelques scènes sanglantes. La conclusion vous laissera sur le bord de votre siège. C’est mon film préféré de 2023, et ça vaut vraiment le coup d’œil.

D’autres recommendations: A Psalm for the Wild-Built de Becky Chambers, Tales from the Rez dir. Trevor Solway, Dinosaur Sanctuary de Itaru Kinoshita, La respiration du ciel de Mélodie Joseph, N’xaxaitkw dir. Asian Youngman, Cocto Citadelle de Fred Duval, et Queer Little Nightmares de David Ly & Daniel Zomparelli.


By Olivia Shan

Berserk is one of those seminal staples of the dark fantasy genre which commands a room of manga enthusiasts the moment it is mentioned, and rightly so. Its basic plot will feel endearingly familiar to any fantasy fan: we follow a lone swordsman named Guts who roams across a hellish medieval world crawling with literal and figurative demons in desperate search of his best friend-turned-nemesis Griffith.

I was cautious going into Berserk, knowing that it was infamous in part for its extreme gore and controversial portrayal of sexual violence—an impression which proved to be not at all overstated. Please, please, be wary if you are sensitive to any kind of explicit content. Admittedly, its over-excessive graphicness, especially surrounding its misogynistic treatment of female characters, compelled me to skim through many scenes. Still, ever since I furiously blazed through the entire series—all 300 some chapters of it—in the span of one scorching summer week, I find myself thinking back to it constantly. Flaws and all, it remains a classic, which I’m convinced deserves the serious consideration of any fantasy or manga reader.

Kentaro Miura’s artwork alone is well worth the price of admission. Pages upon pages of epic scenes are rendered in painstaking and sumptuous detail, the likes of which are rarely, if ever, seen in manga. Beyond that, Miura is also a true master of character writing. Toxic, homoerotic frenemies Guts and Griffth form one of the most emotionally rich and complex character duos I’ve ever read. At its best, Berserk reaches deep into the recesses and repressions of trauma and vulnerability with haunting rawness and honesty.

When discussing Berserk, many, I’m sure, will recall the recent death of Miura in 2021, which left the continuation of the decades-long series at a standstill. Though Berserk has now been placed in the direction of a fellow artist, Kouji Mori, it’s impossible to tell concretely when it will finally reach its conclusion—or if it ever will. Even so, Berserk’s indelible influence on countless manga, comics, and popular culture is palpable, and on that basis alone, Miura’s legacy and life’s work have already stood the test of time.

Alan Wake II

By Fred Azeredo

Remedy Entertainment, the Finnish studio behind Alan Wake II, has quite the stellar track record. Though, then again, so did CD Projekt Red, Bethesda, and Arkane, all of whom put out heavily hyped and hugely disappointing games recently. What with the 13 years of piled-up expectations following the original Alan Wake, then, I had reason to be wary. But guess what? It not only lives up to them, it blows them right out of the water. This is one of the most original, profound, and thought-provoking game experiences ever made, certainly the best of 2023 (itself a bumper year).

Unlike the first installment, which was rather straightforward overall, Alan Wake II features a rich tapestry of plotlines and themes that intersect in surprising ways (and, thanks to the new ‘Mind Place’ mechanic, never grow too confusing). The thread of the titular author’s struggle with his own creations, manifested as monsters in the real world, has grown to include a True Detective-style serial killer mystery, a surrealistic dream journey, and more without distracting from the central exploration of a writer’s relation to his own writing.

All of Remedy’s trademarks—thick atmosphere, quirky NPCs, even a rocking track by in-universe band Old Gods of Asgard—are here, richer and more fleshed out than ever before. It feels very much like a concerted effort by the developers to better themselves, learn from what came before to reach new highs. The result is a supremely confident work, as assured when it’s going for oddball humor as when it’s scaring the hell out of you. The gameplay is as engrossing as it is terrifying. The performances are uniformly on point, whether they’re playing for laughs or tears. And it all looks as good as any game from this generation. All of which to say… the hype is real. Bless those Finns, they pulled it off. Don’t ask me how. Just go play it!

Other recommendations: Detective Comics: Gotham Nocturne by Ram V, John Wick Chapter 4 directed by Chad Stahelski, The Fall of the House of Usher created by Mike Flanagan.