TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Saloum’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2021 by - September 15, 2021
TIFF 2021: Our Review of ‘Saloum’

The Hyenas (Yann Gael, Roger Sallah, and Mentor Ba) are three mercenaries who travel all over Africa to either start coups and drug deals or to stop them. Their last stop was at Guinea-Bissau and they head to their next destination to hand in a Mexican dealer (Renaud Farah) for some gold. But their plane crashes next to the titular Saloum, a seaside retreat where the group’s leader Chaka (Gael) spent his childhood. It’s less of a nightmare in the film’s 2003 setting, but the Senegalese resort’s owner (Bruno Henry) relegates each vacationer to chores. People partner up outside of those chores, like Chaka and Awa (Evelyn Ily Juhen), who threatens to expose him. What she doesn’t know is that his secrets have supernatural connections.

The action horror genre entry has things that viewers can nitpick on. It’s great for horror films to think out of the box when it comes to some elements. The score feels dance-y for a horror film but again, I’m here for interesting and new juxtapositions. It also mixes rough and polished aesthetics. The transition between the two come in just as the entities come to hunt them. The entities have different effects on the guests. Some snivel, and that similar reaction from two male guest appears even if one of them knows about the entities and the other one doesn’t believe in them at first. But it importantly, tackles childhood and even intergenerational horrors, an effect that both cast and crew successfully flesh out.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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