Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Director: Nicholas Pleskof
Remember Cluedo? The butler did it in the library with a candlestick … :)
‘Murder Party’ is a very French take on the theme.
Patriarch César Daguerre (Eddy Mitchell) is the founder and visionary behind the creation of a boardgame empire that has kept generations of families delighted and its creator ridiculously wealthy.
He lives in Daguerre Manor with his quirky family and we meet them via Jeanne (Alice Pol). Jeanne is one of a selection of architects involved in a competition, the winner of which will turn the manor into a life sized gaming house.
On arrival, we soon discover that everyone is slightly mad and carries a weapon – its games night Friday, after all. Very soon the patriarch is found dead in his study, his breath smelling of bitter almonds. (Hmmmmm. Even a mediocre sleuth like 'moi' knows this means poisoning by arsenic).
Quite suddenly, a picture on one wall turns into a PA and explains to the group that there is a murderer in their midst and they will be given a set of clues to discover the murderer's identity. If they do not discover the identity then they all will die, if they guess incorrectly then the one who incorrectly guesses dies. They cannot leave the Manor as the walls are solid stone and all exits have been electrified. And, of course, the clues and obstacles all involve potential maiming or death; the participants being the target for amateur archery, or code cracking to stop a room filling with poisonous gas, or electro-magnetic torture … and so on (you get the drift, I'm sure).
Architect Jeanne tries to convince the patriarch right at the beginning of the film, that virtual reality is the ‘now’ and should be included in his life-sized gaming vision. Even if not VR, I kind of think that this lovely piece of Cluedo-esque kitsch would have benefited if it remained true to the pure out-of-control joy of those who get deeply involved in board games. You know; the cheating, the surreptitious reading of each other's clues, the stealing from an unattended bank - the accusations, factions and basic bedlam, could have made 'Murder Night' sing.
'Murder Night' definitely was a fun movie, it did have a bit of an unpredictable twist at the end but .... it could have been pure blissful mayhem with a tad more spirited play!
A fun and very French afternoon at the theatre.