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The Bridesmaid Review

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A sequel of sorts to Ruth Rendell's 'A Judgement In Stone' (made by Chabrol as 'La Ceremonie'). Jeanne has a little sister - Stephanie, who has arrived in town with a view to reducing a relationship to rubble. She's also damaged goods, with murder on her mind.

★★★★★

Claude Chabrol's second attempt at capturing Ruth Rendell's relentlessly sinister vision of smalltown mores recalls his first, 1995's La Ceremonie, in that Laura Smet's femme fatale intrudes upon an already fragmenting domestic routine and reduces it to rubble. However, she lacks Isabelle Huppert's genius for irresistible mystery - consequently, it's difficult to see why sales rep Benoît Magimel would veer so completely off the rails simply because she bears a resemblance to a garden statue his mother (Aurore Clément) gave to her now-vanished lover. As ever, Chabrol develops the situation with sly restraint, while Eduardo Serra's cinematography generates a palpable sense of provincial menace that intensifies after Smet suggests they perform mutual murders to prove their passion. But, ultimately, Rendell's storyline offers too few surprises.

Chabrol develops the situation with sly restraint, while Eduardo Serra's cinematography generates a palpable sense of provincial menace. But ultimately, Rendell's storyline offers too few surprises.