Linkeroever (Left Bank)
A quiet Belgian horror film, Linkeroever, which translates to mean “left bank” in English, is the story of Marie, a professional runner who has just qualified for the European Championships. Played by the remarkable Eline Kuppens, Marie meets Bobby (played by actor Matthias Schoenaerts), the head of the archery guild. Bobby lives on the elusive left bank in a creepy apartment building whose residents are even more disturbing.
Marie soon comes down with an unexplainable illness that her doctor attributes to her rigorous running schedule, and she cannot compete in the European Championships as planned. But there are other symptoms to her illness that cannot be explained. Neither can the onset of her surreal dreams.
The film is surprisingly realistic for a horror film, and relies more on character development than hokey special effects or jump scares. Each event is played out as the truth as we follow Marie deeper into the mystery of the building where Bobby lives. This film contains none of the typical horror film tropes, there are stereotypical characters and no disgusting murders. Instead it plays more like a mystery film, and at points, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Rosemary's Baby, Ginger Snaps, or the recent Japanese horror film Dark Water.
Linkeroever plays horror in a more realistic, dramatic circumstance. The longer I watched the film, the more I began to believe in secret fraternities and secret holes to hell as commonplace and ordinary. Because of this, the ending pleasantly crept up on me. It definitely gives an entirely new spin to the 'final girl theory'.
Linkeroever is beautifully filmed in Duerne, Belgium, and has the same aesthetic as fellow Belgian director Dimitri Karakatsanis, who contributed to the screenplay. I wouldn't pass this film up if you are a fan of character-driven horror films or strong female protagonists.