‘Euphoria’ Review: Death Wishes
With a few tweaks, “Euphoria” — a mopey tale of suicide and sisterhood — would make a pretty good horror movie. As it is, this English-language debut from the Swedish director Lisa Langseth wastes its skin-crawling setup on an extended wallow in resentment and reconciliation.
The pair doing the wallowing are estranged sisters, Emilie and Ines (Eva Green and Alicia Vikander), who have embarked on a luxury vacation at a remote woodland retreat — a destination chosen by Emilie and kept secret from Ines. So when it’s revealed that the facility provides its sickeningly wealthy guests with their ideal death experience, Ines is understandably perturbed.
There’s more to the movie than curated expiration, but that’s the only spoiler you’re getting from me. Suffice to say that, instead of exploiting her story’s cultlike setting and creepily original details — like the tech specialist who cleans up and embellishes internet legacies before guests check out for good — Langseth mires us in the sisters’ unresolved childhood issues.
There’s dark fun to be had with this bucolic haven of serene lakes and designer demise, this slaughterhouse photographed in summer-vacation colors. Yet the movie’s despondent tone and sibling sniping effectively douse its warmer moments and the actors’ innate charisma. Anyone who has seen Green set the TV screen ablaze on Showtime’s wonderful supernatural drama, “Penny Dreadful,” will be saddened to see her strain to bring Emilie’s wan personality into focus.
Notwithstanding a lively turn from Charles Dance as a chatty brain-tumor sufferer and a perfect Charlotte Rampling as a tranquil guide to oblivion, “Euphoria” gives up the ghost well before either of its unhappy heroines.
Rated R for non-sexy nudity and a needlessly lengthy final exit. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes.
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