The mid-70's: a timid young New Yorker leads an uneventful life until he is fatefully exposed to the pulsating rhythms of a brand-new genre of music: disco. Unable to control his murderous impulses that stem from a traumatic childhood experience, Duane Lewis transforms into a dangerous serial killer exiled to Montreal.
I’ve seen many horror movies over the years and where a lot of them grind to a halt or simply fail is due to lack of direction. Sometimes the director is at fault, but most time the problem lies in the movie not understanding its own identity or where the actual story is going.
Discopath does not suffer this fate and in fact, writer/director Renaud Gauthier lays out the framework to the movie in a simple but direct path that was very refreshing to these eyes. It is a great tip of the hat to slasher movies from the 70’s and 80’s with a dash of humor added as a nod to the craziness of it all.
Our killer-to-be Daniel Lewis (Jeremie Earp-Lavergne) has a rather larger issue with disco music as it changes him from your everyday joe into a very excited and aroused killer. We first meet our killer in 1976, getting fired from his job and mindlessly wandering the streets of Manhattan. Settling on a park to begin his soul searching, he makes friends with a woman named Valerie (Katherine Cleland) and things go downhill from there.
Valerie takes Daniel to the local disco where he soon finds out that disco music does not really agree with him. Violence ensues which includes a great scene that takes place underneath the dance floor. Our new killer takes this opportunity to flee the city for greener pastures, or in his pace, some anonymity.
Jumping forward to 1980, our killer in hiding is now working at a religious school for young women fixing electronic equipment (yes, how ironic). Being under the watchful eye of both the headmistress Sister Mireille (Ingrid Falaise) and Father Antoine (Pierre Lenoir) and installing a ‘hearing aid’ device to block out sound were great ideas that kept his urges under control. However, Daniel is like a ticking time bomb and before you know it, the blood begins to flow and the body count begins to rise.
The killings, combined with the blood and gore, are at the very least interesting. While one person may be dispatched in a very ordinary way, still others are killed and dismembered in ways that you won’t soon forget. Some special kudos should be given to the special effects team who together with director Gauthier create some great scenes of blood and terror.
Everything about this movie looks and feels right for the 70’s era, from the clothes right on down to the great soundtrack. The movie also feels dirty and gritty, capturing the underbelly of the glitz and glam quite well.
Gauthier also manages to keep the show on the same path, not letting it sway too far into either campy rhetoric or overly serious tones. True, this is a movie about a killer on a rampage but the flashbacks to his childhood make quick work of the whys and hows of his reasons to add some sort of understanding to his methods of madness and brutality while still leaving room for personal interpretation.
Discopath might be considered a B-movie but there are some high end moments to this film, everything from the performance of Jeremie Earp-Lavergne to the building of the passenger part of the airplane for Daniels flight from ‘Manhattan’ to Montreal.
For his first feature film, director Renaud Gauthier should be very happy with the results and I am looking forward to what he has planned for the future.
+ Does a great job of capturing the feel of the 70's
+ Some creative death scenes and special effects
+ Very good pacing and direction from start to finish
+ Would have liked to see more development of some characters
+ The car chase/ and crash scene, while done well for the era, felt out of place