Garpar Noe has built a reputation as a filmmaker not afraid to push the envelope.
His latest film "Climax" is no exception. While it may be the most 'commercial' of his films, it is still a mind-bending homage to horror that is both fascinating and terrifying - an experience unlike any 2019 film to date.
In "Climax" we see a dance troop holding an after party to celebrate after finishing up a rehearsal. As the people mingle among each other we learn that as perfect and cohesive they are on stage, they are fractured and divisive off stage.
You have Selva (Sofia Boutella) and David (Romain Guillermic) as just one of the on-again, off-again couples, siblings Gazelle (Giselle Palmer) and Taylor (Taylor Kastle), as well as the leader of the troop Emmanuelle (Claude Gajan Maull), her young son and her assistant Daddy (Kiddy Smile).
The idol gossip and mundane atmosphere takes a turn for the worse when the troop discovers someone has spiked the sangria with LSD, causing a chaotic and paranoid witch hunt to figure out who was responsible. As the "investigation" continues, the drugs take effect - plunging people into parts of their psyche they never thought was possible.
The film is loosely based on a true event, a concept that itself is scary enough, but under Noe's watchful eye he ups the cinematic ante to create an experience that serves as a metaphor for the cut throat world of competitive dance.
Noe's camera work is fascinating throughout, especially a single take early in the film that breaks out into an impromptu dance sequence that is absolutely exhilarating to watch unfold.
But once the drug kicks in, the horror magnifies to unimaginable corners of Noe's mind. You are put inside some of these people's heads in ways I never want to go again, with each shocking moment topped by the next building to a final scene and reveal that brings it all together quite well.
Noe may be an acquired taste, but if you are going to start somewhere "Climax" is the perfect introduction. For the initiated, this is a roller coaster ride you've been on before but can't wait to strap yourselves in again.