La Petite Mort 2009 Unearthed Films

La Petite Mort is a 2009 German splatter horror, written and directed by Marcel Walz with additional writing from Martin Hentschel. With a large Marcel Walz is most notable for the 2016 remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s classic 60s gore film Blood Feast, the horror comedy Avantgarde (2010), and the slasher horror Pretty Boy (2021).

Whilst traveling to Mallorca, three friends, Simon, Nina, and Dodo, take the chance to explore Frankfurt after a flight delay. However, following being mugged in a back alley, the trio accidentally stumble into a fetish bar called “Maison de la Petite Mort”. After an altercation with the staff of this establishment, our protagonists discover the ulterior purpose of the club; a notorious venue where members of the Elite Class secretly meet in the basement for bloody games of perversion.

La Petite Mort 2009

Beginning fairly atypically for a gore film, La Petite Mort dedicates its first act to establishing our protagonists as well as their relationships with each other. Featuring a fairly deep story of a young couple Simon and Nina in love, Simon is looking for the perfect moment on their trip to propose but still suffering from some personal hangups in regard to Nina’s blindness. Although this premise has very little to do with the rest of the film, it’s still refreshing to see a little dedication to delivering some resemblance of a story before the film’s brutality begins. Furthermore, the film also takes the time to introduce its antagonists as well as their general hierarchy as both a murder for pay business and also as a family rather than leave their backstory in mystery.

At the start of the second act, our protagonists stumble into the fetish club and the extreme nature of La Petite Mort takes to the main stage. Being egregiously similar to Eli Roth’s Hostel series (released back in 2005), the club is, in reality, an institution for the wealthy to live out their darkest fantasies, torturing and murdering their captured stock in exceptionally graphic ways. With practical effects being handled by the legendary Olaf Ittenbach, these visceral scenes of punishment are obscenely gruesome in their display. Delivering a brutally cruel exhibition of humourless punishment such as forced auto-cannibalism, scalping, and castration to name but a few, these scenes are unflinching in their visualisation through closeup static cinematography. They are shockingly realistic in design for the film’s small budget.

La Petite Mort 2009

Although only 79 minutes in length, La Petite Mort can slow to a crawl at points during the second and third acts. With the film’s strong focus on its story, certain aspects of the antagonists feel incredibly drawn out – delivering a stark contrast to the film’s amazingly gory action. Some slight distillation of this story aspect to deliver a slightly more streamlined experience would undoubtedly benefit the film overall, maintaining the tension built upon during the exhibition of abuse and punishment.

A serviceable serving of sadistic suffering, La Petite Mort is an extraordinarily bloodthirsty piece of extreme cinema sure to enthrall the majority of gorehounds. Even though the film can become a little stale in parts, its visceral action more than makes up for this diversion and certainly elevates itself above the majority of its low-budget counterparts into notable territory.

La Petite Mort 2009

La Petite Mort is available to preorder on Bluray & DVD from Unearthed Films website (Available Dec 16).

Extras:

  • Making of La Petite Mort
  • Commentary with Marcel Walz
  • Interview with Marcel Walz
  • Interview with Olaf Ittenbach
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gallery
  • Trailers

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