Deerskin is available to rent or buy.
Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin is happy to lampoon the filmmaking process in a killer black comedy about a Deerskin jacket, psychosis and a rural snuff movie. Anyone familiar with Dupieux and his work should not entirely be surprised by these key themes; after all, this is the director who brought us Rubber, the story of a homicidal car tire, Flat Eric and the surreal comedy Wrong. But Deerskin feels more refined in its comedic qualities, the deadpan delivery and comic book horror creating a truly hilarious slice of cinema.
Deerskin opens with George (Jean Dujardin), leaving his old life behind him as he gleefully dispenses with his current coat down a service station toilet before meeting with an older man selling a vintage Deerskin jacket. George is besotted by the hideous Western-style garment, handing over considerable amounts of money to purchase the jacket, and as he swaggers out of the home, George is a man finally complete. But he is also clearly on the run from something as he takes up residence in a rundown hotel on the outskirts of a small town.
As George and his jacket settle into town life, George pretends to be an up-and-coming filmmaker, coaxing a young barmaid and aspiring editor, Denise (Adèle Haenel), into his imaginary world. However, George’s relationship with his jacket is becoming increasingly sinister as he begins to converse with it at night, and it’s not long before they have come to an agreement; George and his Jacket will rid the world of all other inferior coats. If Lord of the Rings had one ring, then Dupieux has one jacket to rule them all. From here on in, Deerskin descends down a path of darkly delicious horror comedy as the jacket consumes George while the town becomes part of a sinister amateur filmmaking process.
Much of the joy of Deerskin comes from the deadpan delivery of the madness playing out on screen. Jean Dujardin’s George is gloriously serious at all times, utterly convinced by his own actions, while Adele Haenel’s barmaid plays along with his pathological lying and delusions. The film playfully bounces from laugh-out-loud comedy to slasher horror while parodying the filmmaking process. Deerskin’s brisk 77-minute run time perfectly matches its chaotic story of one man, one camera, and a demonic deerskin jacket.
How many times have you entered a clothes shop and heard someone say, “That’s to die for”? Many of our modern clothes are indeed to die for as disposable fashion fuels global sweatshops and child labour. So imagine if those jeans calling to you from a glossy advert were soaked in the blood of the farmers, kids and workers who made them and, as a result, developed a supernatural thirst for revenge. I love Canadian horror, from Dead Shack to Turbo Kid, and with SLAXX, our Canadian cousins have once again knocked the ball out of the park. Laced with delightfully dark humour and soft gore, SLAXX joyously unpicks consumerism. Like Strickland’s In Fabric and Dupieux’s Deerskin, SLAXX is a killer clothes cult classic.