A mysterious young woman who attends the trial of a man accused of killing three teenage girls and broadcasting the murders on the dark web sets out to find an incriminating video.

Which fly stung Pascal Plante? After three relatively sane feature films (Nadia Butterfly, Fake Tattoos and The Porn Generation), the filmmaker indulges in greedily embracing genre cinema. Anxiogenic thriller, paranoid story, detour to horror: it’s all there and if the references are clearly identifiable (David Fincher and Michael Haneke in the lead), the result – which has been awarded four times at Fantasia – stands out in the Quebec cinematographic landscape .

As always, the director impresses technically and plastically. Vincent Biron’s icy photography fits perfectly with his brother Dominique Plante’s polished melodies, which would have had their place in Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave). There are those revealing zooms, that lavish lighting work, and a few stylized moments a la Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive). The first half hour, simply magnificent, offers a superb sequence shot of the court of justice.

The rest, however, is not of the same caliber. An unlikely friendship forms between the mysterious heroine (elusive Juliette Gariépy, reminiscent of Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium series) and a groupie (Laurie Babin, disarmingly disbelieving) of the alleged assassin. Despite the need for human warmth and the obvious talent of their performers, the chemistry works with difficulty. The repetitive and jagged scenario leads its sociopathic protagonist on a quest for identity that is a morbid fantasy. The spectator is thus prisoner of his subjectivity and his questionable decisions, until a far-fetched conclusion which somewhat disappoints.

This film imagined during the pandemic explores a multitude of contemporary subjects – fascination with serial killers, conspiracy theories, urban loneliness, power of the image – taking care to recall how violence plagues screens and society, dehumanizing his beings of flesh and blood. What a way to get lost in the depths of these Red Rooms which are first and foremost a fascinating exercise in style delivered by one of our most gifted aesthetes.