Written and directed by Renaud Gauthier
A young man turns murderous when he comes into contact with disco music. Unable to block out the beat, the music throws up old memories of the past, urging him to kill. After slaughtering a young woman at discotheque Seventh Heaven in New York city, he flees to Montreal to start a new life but it’ll only be a matter of time before he’s triggered again as the world continues their disco fever.
Get your groove on with DISCOPATH, a delightful 70’s-cum-80’s style slasher thriller. Focusing on a young man named Duane and his struggle against the disco beats, the film follows his descent into a serial killer as he’s unable to avoid the catchy tunes of the decade. He’ll have to watch his back though as the police are hot on his tail too.
Jérémie Earp-Lavergne stars as Duane, who, when we first meet him, is working as a cook in a local cafe. Whenever surrounded by young people playing disco music, Duane enters a trance that he is unable to come out of unless the music stops. After such an incident occurs at the cafe he works at, he is sacked by his boss and on the way to a skate park, he meets a young woman named Valerie (Katherine Cleland) who takes a shine to the young man. She nags him to be her date and attend Seventh Heaven, a discotheque, and despite his protests, Duane joins her. This proves the undoing of Duane as he begins his spiral into madness and bloodshed.
The style of DISCOPATH is one of the major highlights of the movie. The filmmakers have captured the era brilliantly, with great attention to detail to recreate the era from the fashion to the set design. Even the vehicles and background cast ooze that 70’s appeal ensuring that not a single thing gives away the year of its actual conception. The film reminds me of exploitation cinema too, crossed with a dodgy porno. That imperfect style with a grainy texture rather than glossy sheen works to the film’s advantage to immerse the viewer in that particular time and place.
Being a film about a “discopath”, the music is an all important factor and I’m pleased to say that the film gets it spot on. I had to resist the urge to boogie on down whilst watching the flick, especially when the palm-muted open E intro of Kiss’ ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ kicks in towards the latter end of the film. Disco fans will really feel alive with the incredible music combined with the neon lights, discoballs, dancefloors and 45 records.
In terms of horror, DISCOPATH starts out fairly tame with a severed hand here and a bloodied shirt there. However, it’s not long before Duane seemingly relishes his new craft and starts decapitating, slicing and torturing his victims. Though few and far between, it’s quite a grisly and brutal affair, with only glimpses shown during the moment but the aftermath depicting the full ‘glory’.
Whilst I enjoyed the film for it’s disco vibe and for immersing itself into the generation, I feel as though the DISCOPATH didn’t quite fulfill my hopes for the movie. The film starts off strong with its scenes in the discotheque but then the movie switches ideas and focuses upon an all-girls school in Montreal, which is where the film also switches to French-Canadian with English subtitles. I’d have rather seen the movie continue it’s disco streak with Duane making his way through the disco hotspots attempting to avoid capture. Character-wise, Duane seems to be horrified at his actions but then suddenly thrives upon his handiwork. This doesn’t fit too well as the viewer never sees the progression of the character, thus seems out of place when it occurs on-screen. Better character development, tongue-in-cheek humour and a disco-related ending would have created a much more entertaining movie as a whole.