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Making Off (2012) Review

I have only myself to blame. I sat down to watch Making Off, knowing that Wild Eye had released it a few years back as The Devil’s Weekend. Sure they’ve released some outrageously gory and fun films, but ones that actually shocked you or made you queasy, how extreme could it really be? Talk about finding out the hard way…

Written and directed by Cédric Dupuis, Making Off tells the story of an aspiring filmmaker named Cédric Dupuis (Olivier Bureau, Slices of Vi) who opens the film by telling us what we are about to see are the dailies from his attempt to create the greatest horror film ever made. The key word here being “attempt”.

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Tired of seeing untalented hacks getting famous, Cédric buys a camera and a laptop for editing it, much to the displeasure of his girlfriend Aline (Nathalie Van Tongelen, Racer and the Jailbird, Rose Piment). Since he can’t afford to hire actors, he convinces some of his friends to be in it. And as anyone who has sat through a few homemade horrors on Amazon Prime can tell you, that’s a recipe for disaster. And a disaster it is, with Aline’s constant criticism finally driving him over the edge. He beats her to death with a sledgehammer and then does the nasty with her corpse. And somewhere in the midst of that, he realizes just what his masterpiece needs.

Making Off starts out more funny than anything else, with Cédric being a great parody of the auteur who is totally convinced of his own talent and genius. He even berates one of his actors for not putting on a shirt with enough emotion. Once the killings start, the humour remains but takes a very dark turn. This helps set Making Off apart from so many other extreme films that are unrelentingly grim and humourless, concerned only with how sadistic they can make the next killing.

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Which is not to say that Making Off is neither grim nor sadistic, that just gets more and more twisted as it goes on and Cédric becomes more and more deranged. I’d even say that the film’s, simulated, animal abuse goes a bit too far for my liking. I get the feeling that by the time he pulls a colon out of a body and squeezes the contents, that would be shit for those who skipped biology, directly into his mouth a fair number of viewers will be reaching for their remotes.

The effects are, despite Making Off’s low budget, disgustingly real looking and certainly help to maintain the audience’s queasy feelings. The makeup department, Jessica Oberli (Livide, The Horde), Gwenaëlle Bédouet (Kidnapping Inc., La légende) and Julien Richard (Blood Machines, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) deserve a lot of credit for the film’s success.

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Also, somewhat unusually for a film like this, the acting is solid and frequently extremely good. Olivier Bureau manages to portray Cédric’s descent into madness and resist the urge to go over the top and ham it up. Given what the role calls for, that couldn’t have been easy to resist. Coupled with Making Off’s better than usual for the genre script, it makes it all work.

Certainly not for the weak of stomach, Making Off is It’s a found-footage trip into Nekromantic and eROTik territory by way of Effects and Pieces of Talent. The result is what an extreme film should be, but rarely is. It’s nasty, disturbing both in what’s on the screen and what it gets you to laugh at, and almost impossible to look away from. No matter how much you might want to.

Making Off is available in both standard and ultra-limited media book Blu-ray editions from TetroVideo and Goredome. You can check TetroVideo’s Facebook page for more details. And if you’re in the mood for still more fear, you can check with FilmTagger for suggestions.

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