Eric Cherrière’s “Cruel” – 2015 Fantasia Film Review

Meet Pierre, a quiet, kindly French temp worker who takes loving care of his invalid, non-communicative father, and decidedly less-loving care of the perfectly healthy young woman he keeps hidden away in his basement.  Tragically, she is just the latest of a succession of local women and men that Pierre has studied, abducted, and – once bored  – killed.

For 11 years, Pierre has kept meticulous journals on each of his subjects.  And thanks to his father, who created a secret space in the family basement to hide Jews during the war, Pierre has been able to keep his activities hidden from everyone.  Everyone, that is, except maybe his father.  Though Pierre has been telling his father, who is confined to an upstairs bedroom, about each of his captives, he does not really know if the old man is capable of understanding a word that is said to him.

But things begin to change when a young attractive woman suddenly takes a romantic interest in Pierre, allowing him for the first time to imagine living a normal life.  And he certainly seems capable of it.  Unfortunately, it was just days before – perhaps growing bored with the loneliness of his hobby – that he began leaving clues for a previously clueless police force.

Move over Henry, there’s a new portrait of a serial killer in town, and this one is far creepier than you… perhaps because he’s frighteningly far more relatable.

“Cruel” received its Canadian premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival on July 17.  The festival runs through August 5.  For further information go to