“Marianne” brings French horror to a modern audience

Sally Dobie

Released back in September, “Marianne” is a French Netflix original series that serves as a triumph for horror. 

The story of “Marianne” centers around author Emma Larsimon, who writes books about the witch Marianne in order to stop herself from having torturous nightmares and visions of her. But when she ends the series with the death of the heroine, she’s visited by an old friend with a deadly warning.

When she returns to her hometown, she meets not only old friends and family, but once again comes face to face with the source of her fear.

Well, it turns out old women are just as scary as small children, “Marianne” more than proves that.

After the success of Netflix original, “The Haunting of Hill House”, last year, horror series were given a new lease of life. Unfortunately, as good and well crafted as “Marianne” is, it hasn’t achieved the same popularity.

Perhaps the thought of watching a subtitled show while trying to be completely sucked in by the action is difficult for some people, distracting from the jumpscares and content of the show itself. But for most, it shouldn’t prove to be an issue at all.

For those of us who have failed to extend our knowledge of the French language to much further than the days of the week, which funnily enough comes in handy when watching “Marianne”, the subtitles will prove to be a great aid in understanding what is going on in the show.

There is the option to watch the drama with English voiceover which may be easier for some people, but it tends to break the tension and can prove to be more distracting when the words don’t sync up to what the character is saying a lot more than occasionally being distracted by the subtitles.

The series not only has jumpscares and traditional tension, but it effectively builds a disturbing, uncomfortable feeling of dread in your stomach the whole time you’re watching.

The characters of Emma (Victoire Du Bois) and her assistant Camille (Lucie Boujenah) are played with such feeling that you’re drawn in completely, even before the stellar performance of Mireille Herbstmeyer as the possessed Mrs Daugeron. And admittedly, the comic relief of Alban Lenoir as Inspector Ronan was much needed.

Combined with a fantastic soundtrack, it’s the kind of series you need to watch a little bit at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Be warned, though, Marianne does not shy away from topics like suicide and exorcism, which some viewers may be uncomfortable with.

The series is the work of Samuel Bodin and writer Quoc Dang Tran. It has a 7.5/10 rating on IMBb and 91 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

All-in-all Marianne is a must-watch for horror fans, the timing and tension in the series is so effective, and the excellent acting makes the series a well-crafted success.

Even if you’re wary of foreign horror, give Marianne a try. Just remember to watch something more cheery before you go to sleep…

Sally Dobie

Image Credit: Netflix