If you’ve ever thought about calling the police about a noisy neighbor, perhaps you should watch director Philippe Bourret’s film First Night, and think again. The film, a short thriller, is about two young women – Alex (Sandra Foisy) and Vero (Andree-Anne Saliba) who are more than sick of living in an apartment building with an overly loud neighbor. Whether it’s the thumping bass until all hours of the night, the fighting and slamming of doors, or the loud sex, the girls have had it with their neighbor’s inconsiderate nature, and decide to call the police.
Unfortunately, they’ve chosen the wrong night to make the call, and soon find their lives invaded by two vile police detectives; J.P (Matthew Saliba, Amy’s In The Attic) and Moses (Alexander Wheill) who happen to be dragging along their friend who was recently suspended by the force. A voice of trying reason, Rich (Robert Verret, Scene From a Marriage) doesn’t approve of the actions of J.P. and Moses, and tries desperately to stop them from their plan of torture, assault, or worse.
The film is a quick watch with a fantastic story that doesn’t at all shy away from the underlying theme of mistrust and disapproval of the actions of police and their brutality. Without giving too much away about the full motives of our villains, First Night definitely comes across as an anti-authority piece. Even when you think that perhaps the nightmare could be over for the main characters, we’re left with a bleak outlook on what is really going on in the world surrounding them and, in a way, what is really going on in our world, too.
Taking some cues from genre films with its gore (masterfully done by Stéphanie Tremblay) and full-frontal nudity, First Night still plays out more as a thriller with a message than as a mindless horror. With excellently written dialog by Bourret, the actors have something of real substance to work with. Stand-out performances by the entire cast, with special nod to Matthew Saliba who plays J.P as very slick and filthy, and bordering on sociopathic.
As this is Bourret’s first film as a director, you’d almost expect more flaws, but there are few to be found. With First Night, Bourret is able to not only express his views on the sad state of affairs of police violence relevant in many countries, but also to entertain with a violent, thought-provoking film that will captivate any viewer.