The title Murder Party has both sinister and fun overtones. In reality, what you get with this movie is a highly orchestrated game, in which death is the central component. Fear of being knocked off drives the action.
Jeanne Chardon-Spitzer (Alice Pol) is a highly stressed, 35-year-old architect. While successful, she frets about each potential job … and so it is for her latest potential commission. The client – who turns out to be a long-standing board game creator – is looking to update a beautiful, historic mansion. He wants to see models of what candidates for the job have in mind. So Jeanne meets the owner, Cesar Daguerre’s (Eddy Mitchell) son Theo (Pablo Pauly). Much to her chagrin, Theo immediately puts the hard word on her, hoping to “score”. Jeanne is further taken aback when she is confronted by the antics of the butler and other adult members of the family. Wondering what she has walked into, Jeanne’s “pitch” doesn’t go well. Then, suddenly, she’s confronted by a game of life and death, from which there is no escape.
It’s a game not only Jeanne, but all members of the household, must participate in. Suffice to say, clues need to be followed and solutions found. Of course, what would a movie of this type be without a twist in the tail.
Murder Party is a bit of lightweight nonsense. None of it can be taken seriously. It’s set up that way and becomes sillier as it progresses. Writers Nicolas Pleskof (who also directs) and Elsa Marpeau have created characters with inflated egos. They are little more than cardboard cut-outs. Jealousies and rivalries are par for the course in the game that unfolds. I tired of the shenanigans, although I did appreciate the surprise near the end. The actors did what was asked of them, although I can’t say any stood out.
So while Murder Party passes the time, it was hardly something I could get too excited about. In fact, I dare say many will have tuned out long before the conclusion.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.