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. Of course, 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 unlike many of his earlier films, 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 by gleefully dispensing his current coat down a service station toilet before meeting with an older man selling a vintage deerskin jacket. At first sight, George is besotted by the hideous western-style garment, handing over considerable amounts of money to purchase the jacket. His new coat only emboldens George’s swagger and self-love despite being too small. However, George is happy as he drives on to a small rural town, where he takes up residence in a rundown hotel.
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As George and his jacket settle into the town, 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 deerskin jacket becomes increasingly sinister as he begins to converse with it at night. It’s not long before George and his jacket come to an agreement; they will rid the world of all other inferior coats and jackets. 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. At the same time, the whole 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. Like Peter Strickland’s 2019 In Fabric, Deerskin is unique, inventive and darkly delicious.