Bienvenue (2019) begins with a bright, cheerful, romantic tone and a minute later does a complete 180 degree turn into darkness. Written and directed by Vincent Julé, Bienvenue suffers from unoriginality but proves its director has a good grasp of the basics.
A couple arrives at a picture-perfect apartment rental for a vacation. While touring the apartment, the two find a boy alone in a room who is seemingly scared and burying his face into a bedside. After getting no response from the child they decide to call the homeowner, however, before they can complete their call, the couple finds themselves face to face with a terrifying creature.
I appreciated director Vincent Julé’s play with camera movement and framing, I felt it helped to portray the switch from light to ominous atmosphere well by doing sliding as well as back and forth cuts between objects and the actors. Also, the play with light and dark lighting, having the picturesque lighting in the beginning of the movie be a romantic lure into the apartment, and then once a shadowy figure appears, the home suddenly becoming shadowy and uninviting.
This shadowy figure, though it signaled a well-directed change of tone in the movie, was also the first sign of Bienvenue going into a formulaic territory. Its premise of having some changeling-like creature with a human caretaker that lures unsuspecting couples, friends, families, etc. has been done so many times, and though the directing of this story is just fine in Bienvenue, its lack of creativity makes it feel like a student assignment — a short that just makes the grade but does not do anything innovative, special, or different to be at all memorable.
Bienvenue is perhaps too short, additional time might allow for more tension to be built and relished in, in order to make the film’s terror land with a resounding blow rather than the hardly impactful ending that it did produce. Though Bienvenue was not frightening and felt like just a standard short movie, it was at least shot and framed well and is only missing some personal, artistic accents from its director. Watch at the link below and see for yourself!
6 out of 10