There’s a French-Belgian horror-comedy about a team of volleyball players chased by murderous rednecks that’s narrated by a singing cowboy.
The Falcons are a girls volleyball team that is making their way home after winning the regional championships. Along the way, the team coach (Victor Artus Solaro) gets the bus lost and they pull into a bar where they meet a group of mostly non-verbal rednecks. They leave, having been creeped out thoroughly but not noticing that the bus has been sabotaged and marked with strange symbols. The next day, the rednecks ambush the girls and the hunt is on!
If this movie lived up to the promise of the first 15 minutes, it would go down in history as a masterpiece. The opening to this film is a cowboy (Orelsan) singing about the generic plot of a group of hot girls who play volleyball being murdered. Yes, this movie has a Greek chorus, similar to Cat Ballou, There’s Something About Mary, or even Disney’s Hercules, where it’s much more literal. Except that it’s a French Singing Cowboy, because that’s exactly who should sing the Ballad of the Falcons… and honestly should sing every plot to every movie, because that part is pretty awesome. Sadly, it goes downhill from there.
When we’re introduced to the Falcons, they’re all, for the most part, generic stereotypes. You’ve got the tough girl, the lesbian couple, the nerdy girl, the slutty girl, the leader, etc. Since this is ostensibly a horror comedy, this kind of set-up is ripe for subversions and humorous twists… which just never really happen. We have a number of potential plot points set-up early, like one girl’s boyfriend clearly cheating with all the other girls and one girl being jealous that another girl is being called up to the national level, but they don’t really play out as humorously as they should. Even the one that’s given a pretty decent twist ending just isn’t as funny as it should be.
A lot of it is that the movie just doesn’t have great comic timing or execution. You can have the greatest joke ever, but without a decent delivery it’s just going to fall flat. That’s how much of this film feels: Flat. Is there a scene of girls using volleyballs against redneck cultists? Yes. Should that be hilarious? Absolutely. Is it? Meh. It doesn’t help that the movie doesn’t really do a great job on the “horror” front, aside from having absolutely great gore effects (the director did the make-up on Raw). The redneck cultist designs are almost satirically generic, something that, again, could have been made funny, but they never go anywhere with it. Part of the horror-comedy is that the comedy is supposed to lighten up the horror and the horror is supposed to be more shocking because of the juxtaposition. This movie didn’t do either element well enough.
The two notable bright spots, aside from the effects, are the ridiculous coach’s even more ridiculous character “arc,” which I admit made me laugh just because it’s so intentionally awkward, and Denis Lavant’s wordless leader of the redneck group. Lavant conveys so much natural menace through his performance that he always manages to add some level of tension to the scene. I also admit that a few of the deaths are fun, but… not as funny as they should be. The death of Hazuki (Anne-Solenne Hatte), in particular, should have had me rolling on the floor laughing, but instead it just made me chuckle a bit.
Overall, I want someone to watch this movie, be inspired by some of the ideas in it, then make a better film. Also, I want more singing cowboys narrating non-Western movies.
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