Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Review by Kelly
“Two American newlyweds in Paris experience a love so strong, it almost devours them.”
Trouble Every Day was released in 2001 and is considered one of the films within the sub-genre of horror called New French Extremity. Other films within this sub-genre are Martyrs, In My Skin, High Tension and Inside. The term “new french extremity” was coined by Artforum critic James Quandt for a collection of transgressive films by French directors which started around the late 90s-early 2000s. Alexandra West also wrote a book on this cycle of films called Films of the New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity. As per Alex West, “New French Extremity is a movement that sees art-house and genre directors converge to meditate on the horrific aspects of life and what remains after those social veneers are stripped away. While they do not offer moral lessons, they offer an unsettling catharsis.” These movies are often powerful, complicated and fascinating.
Trouble Every Day follows two couples in love while one half of the couple is dealing with this seemingly sex induced urge to consume human flesh. In one couple we have a doctor, Leo, and his wife Core, and in the other, Shane as a scientist and his wife, June. Shane has brought his wife to Paris to find Leo as Leo has published some scientific papers on exploration into….something controversial. Sadly, the story line is confusing and vague but it alludes to human experimentation, neuroscience, and botany. Leo’s wife is afflicted with this condition, along with Shane, and he seeks to gain insight into it. Each couple struggles within the confines of their relationships with their beloved partners as the movie reaches its startling, and tragic, conclusion.
It took some time for me to digest this movie. As with all of the New French Extremity films, there is a lot happening within the scenes of violence, gore, and sexuality (if the film contains this) and overall narrative. The narrative itself isn’t always cohesive, which is definitely what I found to be true in Trouble Every Day. However, the tenderness and devotion from the partners of these people afflicted with the cannibalistic disease is touching but also disturbing. There is a part where Shane says to his wife “I would never hurt you” and you believe that to be the truth (as one will become to know at the end of the movie). He struggles with his desires to have sexual intimacy with June because he knows how it will end - in bloodshed. He goes so far as to masturbate alone, locked in the bathroom, with his crying wife pounding on the door. She doesn’t seem to 100% know what is wrong with him though there are shots at the beginning of the movie that I thought were flashbacks to a moment in time with June where she is covered in blood and happy about it. Did that actually happen or was that just a fantasy?
Leo, the doctor, locks his wife away so she can’t hurt anyone, though this doesn’t always stop her from getting out...or someone from getting in. There are two scenes in the movie with each afflicted partner that are violent, sexual and full of deep, intense need. They are also incredibly graphic and upsetting. Trouble Every Day combines the primal desire for sex and human flesh into this incredible film that produced conflicting emotions in me: arousal, disgust, understanding, titillation, adoration. After some rumination, I found this movie to be outstanding. Next to Martyrs, it is now one of my favorite films in the sub-genre of New French Extremity.
If you enjoy the New French Extremity films, are a gore hound, or want to watch something that might cause some shock and awe, I definitely recommend checking out Trouble Every Day.
I also 10000% recommend reading Alexandra West’s book on New French Extremity as it’s the only one strictly covering this intriguing sub-genre.