The Treatment reminds me of Seven. If that ain’t a compliment I can’t imagine what is. It’s a well thought-out piece of thrilling dark fantasy entertainment that is bleak and hopeless and leaves the viewer spent and worried. It’s not a feel good movie by any stretch of the imagination, so don’t think of this as your Friday night feel good classic. The brilliance in it is it’s place somewhere between crime drama and dark semi-super natural highlights. Artsploitation continues their trend of testing the audience with a new Blu-ray guaranteed to provoke a reaction and fear.
I don’t want to give the impression that it’s a horror film because it absolutely isn’t. Seven isn’t a horror film though it has plenty of graphic displays of effects driven violence to help set a sick tone. The Treatment isn’t quite that sick in physical effectiveness, but has ideas and subject matter that permeate your brain and produce horrible thought worms that whisper to you, ever so softly, “what if”? If you are a parent, the terror that will rage within you as you come to realize that this movie is about child abduction, torture and destruction will quickly make you wretch. Your nerves will glisten with the new found tension provided by the hunt for the madman responsible. The Treatment is quick to the chase and is paced for heart thumping suspense. It swells to a fever pitch right before it drops you into a clam see of perfect despair.
Then of course there’s that moment in the film where you actually start to realize that the baddie bad guy might be… something other than human. Is it human? It is a fantastical being? It’s this thought that kept me up late into the evening playing guessing games at the sounds I would hear from me kids’ bedrooms. The normal nighttime sounds that scream, I’ve stolen your children and they are tied up in my pleasure lair and there’s nothing you can do about it! Parents know this voice, these sounds and that is precisely what The Treatment brings to an audience who may or may not have kids.
There are a number of superb performances with heartfelt, expressive actors that truly understand the subject matter and convey an unforced sense of urgency and madness. From the suspects to the cops to the kids and the downright insane parents, I’m in love with this cast.
That’s not to say that it’s a perfect movie. It’s a Belgian presentation and some of the finer points of the plot seem to be lost in translation. Perhaps it has to do with some of the procedural, cop drama stuff. Maybe it’s the subtitles. A quick reading of the back cover actually cleared up a few moments of confusion for me nicely. A second viewing will certainly help, but I have to tell you that that won’t be any time soon. I can only stand so much kid related horror. Not when the kids are the killers… those are great. When kids are the victims or the point of attack I get defensive and squeamish and I let the daddy run away with me. I hate to make a comparison to A Serbian Film or The Mist, but parents know just how those two pictures can bother a parent. This bothered me. It’s supposed to. It’s not a creature feature like The Mist. It’s not a shockorama like A Serbian Film. This is the dark underworld that we live and breathe in THIS reality where the real evil happens and where the good guys don’t always win.
You can pick up The Treament on Blu-ray from Artsploitation now. It’s all Artsploitation; if you like their previous titles, you’ll love this one.
Extras include: Premiere featurette, Deleted scenes, Trailer
THE TREATMENT is an unsettling Belgian murder mystery that gets under your skin and stays there. A nail-biting suspense yarn based on one of a series of best-selling novels by British crime writer Mo Hayder, the film is not an old-fashioned Agatha Christie-type whodunit, but its gritty themes of sexual violence and pedophilia give it a raw, contemporary intensity that places it in the same company as the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” book and film series. Police inspector Nick Cafmeyer is investigating a case where a mother and father have been bound and beaten, and their young son is missing. An obsessive loner, Cafmeyer discovers that there are other similar cases – tragedies where the parents were forced by a psychopath to harm their own children, who then vanish. For the inspector, this triggers memories of his own brother’s abduction as a child, and the possibility that he may still be alive somewhere. Grim and wholly engrossing, THE TREATMENT is a thriller with an edge.
PLEASE NOTE: The Blu-ray release of THE TREATMENT is duplicated rather than replicated and limited to 500 copies. Due to customer demand they will be replicating future Blu-ray releases.
In Flemish with English subtitles