What are your thoughts pertaining to The 16th Episode? Horror films revolving around travellers crossing paths with malicious forces in far-flung foreign fields is a popular sub-genre. With the film, Jérôme Cohen-Olivar adds nothing original to the sub-genre. He relies on familiar tropes which have been used ad infimum by other filmmakers.
The title of the film a reference to the latest instalment of the YouTube series “Permanent Residents.” The host of the series, a globetrotting YouTuber, is Helen (Rebecca Ramon). We meet her in the opening scene of the film as she is being filmed by her cameraman, Mark (Cody Heuer), recording an episode of her YouTube series. Like that seen in similar productions, with Mark being the cameraman, he is the comic relief. Why is it always the cameraman that serves as the comic relief? Please feel free to answer this question in the comments section. With Helen as the on-screen host, Mark as the cameraman, Einar (Einar Kuusk) series as the sound-guy.
The 15th Episode…
The episode we see the trio filming in the Brazil’s slums is their fifteenth instalment. As Helen brings her latest episode to a close by telling her audience the next episode will take the series to Casablanca, the filming is interrupted by a young thief running into the scene and stealing the host’s cell-phone. They chase after the thief through the favela streets. When the trio finally catches up with the thief, the chase culminates in an intense encounter where Helen shows the strength of her metal. With Helen, Mark and Einar ready to move on to their next adventure, the film finds the trio travelling to Casablanca.
The 16th Episode…
Much of the film takes place in Casablanca. After the trio rent a room in a house from Mrs Frangier (Rosine Young). She draws the trio’s attention to the basement and tells them that this area of the house is off-limits. No matter what the reason, they are not to go into the basement. Mark’s reaction to Frangier is obvious. He consequently has more than a passing interest in her.
At the invitation of their guide (Abdellatif Chawki), the YouTubers attend a local wedding. This is nothing like any wedding Helen, Mark and Einar have previously attended. The vloggers find the celebration strange but enchanting. During the celebration, Helen becomes so engrossed in the festivities that she enthusiastically dances with the locals. It does not take long for Mark and Einar to see that there is something seriously wrong with Helen.
Presenting with all the characteristics typical of possession, the “Permanent Residents” host appears possessed. Helen’s condition, not that this is anything new to horror aficionados, leads Mark and Einar to perform an exorcism. It is one of the most ridiculous scenes in the history of horror.
While Cohen-Oliver presences a balance between scary and humour, the technical characteristics of the production are not great. Because the film relies heavily on horror tropes used in other productions, we find nothing new. Consequently, its the same old tricks in a new package. When will horror filmmakers learn to give their audience something original? We want something bold and refreshingly original. The 16th Episode is not it.