Film Review: Kandisha

Kandisha unleashes her wrath

Much of the genre landscape is unfairly dominated by films from North America, and to a lesser degree Britain and Australasia. This can largely be attributed to language and where the money is to finance filmmaking. Despite this, one of the most interesting movements in modern horror cinema has been that of the French new wave. After the success of Inside and Among the Living, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo return with Kandisha.

During summer break, best friends Amélie (Mathilde Lamusse), Bintou (Suzy Bemba) and Morjana (Samarcande Saadi) hang out with other friends in their neighbourhood and spend their evenings graffitiing and swapping scary stories. On her way home one night Amélie is assaulted by her ex-boyfriend. In the anger and pain which follows she recalls a Moroccan folk legend about a vengeful demon called Kandisha, unthinkingly unleashing her wrath.

Kandisha brings the vibrancy, intensity and youthful exuberance of the Paris banlieues to life in this stylish and slick horror. It’s a film grounded in the cultural melting pot of modern France meshed with the myths and legends of a colonial past which still echo in modern day societies. Add to this a message on toxic masculinity and Kandisha has a lot to say. Whilst it’s not quite as brutal as their earlier films, it still has its moments, and when the bodies start falling they quickly pile up.

Kandisha will screen on Shudder in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand on 22 July.

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