Let this be a lesson
to everyone who's ever looked down their noses at Paris and sneered
as they turned back to their "freedom fries": never
turn your back on the French, especially their filmmakers...because
when they want to be, they can be just as truly balls-out fucked
up as the Japanese ever thought to be.
will be the proof of that. Don't believe me? Well, try out the
first five minutes as a kid voluntarily slams a thumb tack into
his palm. And if that doesn't freak you out, well...try the plot
Baxter, as it turns
out, is an insane bull terrier who finds himself discontented
living with his new mistress, an elderly woman who's quite afraid
of him. Due to his dissatisfaction, he plans to murder her.
Yeah, you heard me.
The dog is plotting murder.
And it gets worse!
He actually becomes a serial killer after discovering his next
owner isn't much better. And in his mad quest for the perfect
owner--who turns out to be a roughly ten-year-old boy with a deep
and unsettling interest in Hitler--he discovers he's got an aptitude
for and a delight in murder. Which he'll satisfy more than once
even after finding the perfect owner.
That's right, folks...the
French made a movie about a serial killing bull terrier.
There's a whole lot
you can say about "Baxter". Bull terriers don't look
good in tutus. It's pretty low taste to have a dog kill an old
woman because he doesn't like living with her. It's even lower
taste to set said dog to menacing a baby. It's vaguely a Stephen
King ripoff--like they combined "Apt Pupil" with "Cujo"
or possibly "The Sun Dog" and just let it go berserk.
Oh, and seriously--bull terriers do NOT look good in tutus. It's
And yet, at the same
time, it's also rather compelling, in its own strange little way.
"Baxter" isn't what you'd call really scary--but it's
also no slouch. It has a certain innovation to it--a dog serial
killer from the perspective of the dog? Definitely unusual!--and
that innovation lends it a lot of capacity in holding interest.
is good--no mistake, quite good!--but it's also very strange.
Like a new smell or a first love, it's beyond the ordinary in
a fashion that is at once compelling and repulsive.
The ending is actually
pretty frightening. For any of a number of reasons, the last ten
minutes of "Baxter" should scare the hell out of just
The special features
are limited to English and Spanish subtitles, along with an English
closed caption track.
All in all, "Baxter"
may start somewhat slowly and awkwardly, but by the end, it will
be a killing machine of unprecedented strength and terror. I'm
very surprised by "Baxter"--and in all likelihood, you
will be too.
Directed by Jerome Boivin
Written by Jacques Audiard, Jerome Boivin
Starring Lise Delamare, Jean Mercure, Jacques Spiesser, Catherine
Produced by Ariel Zeitoun, Patrick Godeau
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