21 May 2024
Don't Deliver Us from Evil (1971)
102 min.
Directed by Joël Séria.
With Jeanne Goupil, Catherine Wagener, Bernard Dhéran, Gérard Darrieu, Michel Robin, Marc Dudicourt, Véronique Silver, Jean-Pierre Helbert.
A memorable shock ending caps this otherwise undistinguished French terror about two teenage girls on an obsessive quest to find pure evil and depravity.

Anne (Goupil) and Lore (Wagener) are close friends at St. Mary's boarding school, inseparable chums during their summer break.

They enjoy reading a dirty novel together, getting their classmates into trouble, and spying on the convent sisters. But their companionship takes a nasty turn after the two gals become blood sisters in a bizarre Satanic ritual.

Soon, the girls' trespasses escalate up to setting fires, senseless animal torture...and even murder.

Based on the 1950s Parker-Hulme case in New Zealand, this is well made and nicely acted, but ironically finds itself hamstrung by the same pervasive devil which seems to motivate Anne and Lore: a chronic recurrence of ennui.

Director Séria does a good job of conveying the girls' listless boredom (as it grows, so does their unyielding commitment to each other), but it's at the expense of understanding the true reason(s) why these chicks went so terribly wrong.

French: Mais ne nous délivrez pas du mal.

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