Every creature in nature has its biological function, so cockroaches, spiders and locusts, however frightening they are in their visual aspects, occupy a place in the mechanisms of the chains that generate life on our planet. In the case of the ecological horror ‘The Cloud’, locusts represent the threat to the characters who will have to face the fury of these insects historically associated with voracity, destruction, disorder and imbalance, animals mentioned in the Bible as harmful responsible for expressions calamities. There are, however, throughout the development of the story directed by Just Philippot, elements more monstrous than the insects with long and strong hind legs, conducive to their great leaps: human beings, figures endowed with great greed, motivations that transform the search for the survival of the characters into an allegory of our relationship with the world we inhabit, appreciate and, well below expectations, we conserve.
In the plot written by Jérôme Genevray and Franck Victor, Virginie (Suliane Brahim) is a single mother who takes care of the children Gaston (Raphaël Romand) and Laura (Marie Narbonne). She has to contend with tense economic problems, among other conflicts including the constant rebellion and discontent of her eldest daughter. The crisis with the neighbors and the stress of having to pay big expenses are on the list of the problems which tops your list of daily challenges. In order to support herself, she works on a farm and raises locusts for the production of flour, in addition to selling them to those interested in food with a good dose of protein. The problems start after a household accident involving a large cut to the arm will cause the insects to have a particular taste for blood.
With that, more and more, in an effect that I compare to the one proposed by Clive Baker in ‘Hellraiser’, the animals get nervous and need blood. It all starts with small doses and in a spiral of increasing intensity, it becomes a daily obligation in the dynamics of procreation, after all, the more insects reproduce, satisfied with the food source provided by the owner, the more the cash- flow is important. And with that, it is possible that there is no escape for a companion goat, nor for the small dog of the family. Bobar, will Virginie sink into human sacrifice, such is the return on investment? To the reader, I give nothing else. We have to see it before we believe it. In its 100 minutes, longer than necessary for the establishment and resolution of dramatic conflict, the team of directors develops a narrative in the traditional patterns of the ecological horror subgenre, but unlike most films of this segment, the emphasis is on psychological dynamics. characters and in allegories with contemporary unease over the relationship between human beings, climatic effects and other upheavals of nature which in some cases rebel against our destructive actions.
Prior to being released on the Netflix platform, “The Cloud” hosted a few festivals and releases on other streaming services and was generally well received by audiences and critics. There were notes that the producers did to the locusts what Alfred Hitchcock did to the birds of the classic, which is also part of the narrative scheme of the subgenre in question. The impressions, consistent and not exaggerated, expose what is in fact in the dramatic structure of the film, i.e. the animals occupying a threatening place, but representative of human behavior, allegorized by the bravery of the beings of nature. Savage. In addition, contrary to what is usually expected in productions of this type, the insects do not escape from the aviary and leave, like in a slasher, killing people and leaving a trail of corpses and blood. There are, yes, deaths and some hysteria, but the narrative remains somewhat sober and while not subtle in times of greater tension, it takes a more psychological route with a lower level of physical tension. , which makes it interesting, but a little lethargic.
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