The predicate “B-movie” is commonly reserved for black-and-white films with clumsily twisted plots that often feed on subjects invoking mass hysteria at the time, with involuntarily funny dialogues and wooden acting, commonly produced somewhere in the backyards of moviemaking. I don’t know where Mattieu Kassovitz’ “The crimson rivers” (“les rivettes pourpres”/”Die purpurnen Flüsse”) was produced, but it sure meets all requirements for a B-movie except that it’s in colour: A sequence of bizarre murders in an isolated French mountain village that hosts ‘n boasts an incestuous elite university leads to the revelation of a hideous secret involving eugenics and the breeding of a new race (Nazi signs blinking!), an utterly unbelievable connection with strange goings-on in yet another French mountain village with a girl run over by a truck that turns out to have been someone else who turns out …, oh, well. Dialogues? If not for some of the scenes that are truly captivating in terms of suspense, you’d laugh your head off all the time [which, admittedly, might be a side-effect of German dubbing.]. Acting? Jean Reno trying to get his lighter going is the climax of character development. There’s just one thing I’m wondering: Are B-movies commonly considered masterpieces upon their release, and only recognized for their true qualities by later generations of moviegoers? If so, “The crimson rivers” meets yet another condition.
But then again, so do perhaps most films produced in Hollywood right now. Outhollywooding Hollywood, as seems to be the strategy of at least the big players in the European film industry, might turn out to lift the genre of B-movies yet onto a higher (?) plane. Trash as trash can, baby.