Ogre Review: A Social Film Too Frontal?

Ogre is the first feature film, written and directed by Arnaud Malherbe. In competition this year at the Gérardmer Festival, this first committed film is anchored in our society through its current themes. Despite genuine attention to highlighting a political issue, it seems that this first film does not trust itself, abandoning its mysterious storytelling for an overly frontal and a bit crude approach …

After studying journalism, Arnaud Malherbe joined the Femis in the scenarios section. He first writes for television and also for comics. His short film On your skin gets the winner of Grand Prix at the 2008 Gérardmer Fantastic Film Festival. Then he realizes History in 2009 i Black room in 2013. The writer-director then resorted to longer formats which he ventured into series, such as Heads in 2015. He created and directed the fantasy series Moloch in 2019. Three years later, he made his first feature film, Ogre which is in competition in the 29th edition of the Gérardmer Festival.

© The Jokers Films

Ogre tells the story of Chloé (Ana Girardot) and her 8-year-old son Jules (Giovanni Pucci). They start a new life in the Morvan where the mother comes to work as a teacher. Warmly welcomed by the villagers, she falls under the spell of Mathieu (Samuel Jouy), the charismatic but mysterious village doctor. Despite the peaceful appearance of the village, terrible events arise again. A child has recently disappeared and a wild beast roams and preys on livestock …

A film with good intentions

the fantastic it has the advantage of being real writing tool in Art, literature, painting, music or cinema. Monsters sometimes embody repressed or accepted fears of our society and its history. The readings of the works and their interpretations are free and above all timeless. Then the viewer can see Nosferatu the vampire by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau as a simple vampire movie, or as an allegory of a pandemic like the plague, or even as the rise to power of a totalitarian regime. You can also see Cloverfield by Matt Reeves as a simple science fiction film or as a true catharsis of an America in the midst of rebuilding after the 2001 bombings.

That genre therefore it has a fantastic freedom, both in its form (horror, story, science fiction) and in its content (allegories, spun metaphors). Arnaud Malherbe abandons himself in the form of a story. A mother and her son leave their urban homeland for a prosperous and isolated province.

© The Jokers Films

While Ogre is anchored in a universe realisticit gradually moves to a higher register plausible. The supernatural and the fantastic are installed creatures that evoke the characters. The villagers speak of a beast reminiscent of werewolf which roams the village and Jules evokes a monster in his room watching him and wanting to devour him during the night.

In fact, it would seem that Ogre A society materializes (the villagers) concerned with a bug that roams and kills. The film also talks about a child terrified and chased by a creature (which could symbolize the repercussions of these worries on youth) in which adults refuse to believe, however. Therefore, we could transpose many themes embodied and carried by the fantastic and its creatures, only here … Arnaud Malherbe does not seem to trust his film and poetry, moving from mysticism to the overabundance of explanations of why.

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The result is several hyperfrontal dialogues about the origin of the characters as well as their reactions to the problems encountered throughout the film. Arnaud Malherbe seemed to be holding his ground. Point out topics instead of letting your imagination run wild. The dialogue scenes sound a bit out of tune and the supernatural type disappears. The accompaniment of the director and his presence are felt, creating a real distance between display cinema and sound interpretation. Too bad, especially when the movie could have been largely alone …

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A great force Ogre however it lies in his magnificent photography. Penelope Pourriat –Operator in chief– and Arnaud Malherbe develop a real language in the service of narration. the color workmainly from green i blueis associated with a lost nature in a Black nightwhose shadows are deep and infinite … We also notice a real one silhouette work, further enhancing the mystical dimension of the universe. This process suggests the creature for the first time and offers a terrifying first appearance. It’s a shame it won’t be completely revealed a few scenes later, as we finally know what the threat is like …

A movie that gets lost a bit …

The real problem Ogre seems to reside there its domestic effectssometimes frontal massthen finally too blurry… The film gives the impression of wanting to extend the subject to others, without us being able to really grasp its meaning, while its basic theme was sufficiently sufficient, current and important.

© The Jokers Films

Result a somewhat hesitant first filmwhich nevertheless remains interesting activated a fund with good intentions. The feature film also appears great shape, perfect frames and a terrifying twilight photograph. Finally, Arnaud Malherbe shows that it is possible, however, to explain real issues of society through a French-produced genre film, brought by the French and filmed in France, in Burgundy-Franc Comté. And that’s always fun.

Ogre is currently in theaters.




Ogre is a feature film full of good intentions, but a bit catchy … The film, however, is still important, especially in terms of the subject. Finally, it’s always nice to see genre movies made, dressed and shot by French people in France.

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