The Movie Waffler First Look Review - HAPPY TIMES | The Movie Waffler

First Look Review - HAPPY TIMES

happy times review
A gathering of family and friends for a Shabbat dinner takes a bloody turn.

Review by Hugues Porquier

Directed by: Michael Mayer

Starring: Michael Aloni, Shani Atias, Guy Adler, Liraz Chamami

happy times poster

Happy Times is directed and written by Michael Mayer, co-written by Guy Ayal, and was nominated for Best Film at the 2020 American Horror Film Festival.

This attempt at horror-comedy takes place in a sumptuous Hollywood mansion. In this setting we find a family and friends who are about to celebrate Shabbat.

happy times review

During the first half of the film we gradually get to know the various characters, their pasts, their behaviour, the links between them and their deviancies. It is a rather lengthy half but it gives us a real insight to the drama. This allows us to create attachments with the characters, even if most of them are entirely composed of clichés.

This group of merry people may seem like a classic group of friends to us, but the film's second half holds many surprises.

This second half is more like Gaspar Noé's Climax, but without the sangria, the dance and the handsome cinematography.

The general and uncontrolled madness grows over time. The madness is generated by cultural differences, cheating in love, but especially by misunderstandings and misfortune.

happy times review

Whether out of anger, out of love, out of revenge or because of alcohol, everyone finally gives in to their demons and deviancies. Here we see humans who seem to act like animals, guided by their most primal impulses.

The characters are all atypical, yet are constantly verging on the clichéd. Some of the performances are really convincing, such as that of Michael (played by Michael Aloni), who embodies the role of the rebel of the family, the one who feels misunderstood by the others, permanently provocative.

On the other hand, other performances, such as Daniel David, who plays Maor, a young idiot guided solely by his sexual impulses, are sometimes close to taking us out of the film.

After a relatively calm first half in terms of horror and blood, we're plunged into excessiveness and sometimes incomprehension regarding the actions of the characters.

happy times review

It's only the visit of some policemen, alerted by the neighbours, that brings us back to reality and logic, but only for a few minutes. Indeed, once the infernal machine of blood and murder is launched, nothing seems to be able to stop it.

Happy Times is not the kind of movie you should watch with a serious eye. If you want to enjoy this movie, you have to let yourself be carried away by the events without questioning them, otherwise you will probably very quickly become frustrated and disappointed.

Happy Times is on US DVD/VOD from February 9th. A UK/ROI release has yet to be announced.

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