Paris, 1979. A masked psychopath stalks and murders the associates of a shoestring gay-porn production company. It’s part giallo and part smut movie with a strain of what I’m going to call magic realism, brought to you by co-writer/director Yann Gonzalez and released in this country as Knife + Heart (2018), a French-language pseudo-horror that made a stab for the Palme, which we don’t get to say too often around here.
There’s a massive amount of gay sex in this movie. Where Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975)—an obvious influence, both thematically and visually—flirts with gayness through half-closeted characters in the context of spectacular giallo kills, Knife + Heart comes out of the closet directly onto the main float at Pride and relegates the kills to the level of subtext, like Summer of Sam (1999), only infinitely gayer. That’s the sort of thing that gets you noticed at Cannes, but the horror doesn’t work right when it’s just adding flavor.
I found the first half of the film to be staggeringly good and the last half to be from some other movie, still vaguely horror-like but not as très bon.