Bridesmaid, The Director: Claude Chabrol France| 2004. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 110 min. Book cinema tickets When the master of French thrillers Claude Chabrol meets the mistress of English suspense fiction Ruth Rendell, the result is a potent if very classic blend. The Bridesmaid is pleasing precisely for the way it expertly follows genre rules in its story of a young femme fatale who demands ultimate proof of love. At 74, Chabrol is in full possession of his talent for elegant, understated filmmaking. In a quiet French town only slightly rocked by the news of a missing girl, Philippe (Benoît Magimel) lives with his attractive hairdresser mother Christine (Aurore Clement) and his two younger sisters. One night, Christine introduces her offspring to Gerard (Bernard le Coq), a businessman who has been courting her, and asks their permission to give him the sculpted head of a woman in their garden as a present. They reluctantly agree. Gerard, however, disappears from Christine’s life and Philippe retrieves the sculpture in secret. He hides it in his closet and develops a strange attachment to it; not long after, at his sister’s wedding, he meets her bridesmaid Senta (Laura Smet), who bears an eerie resemblance to the statue. She seduces him during a thunderstorm and the die is cast for an unpredictable, dangerous relationship. Senta, a model and wannabe actress, lives in the basement of a huge house her father left her. Rather humorously, Philippe tries to juggle his sultry girlfriend and exciting new sex life with a steady job and family propriety. But the girl’s true nature remains shrouded in mystery, creating a low-level tension that hovers unnervingly in the background of the film. When she asks Philippe to murder a stranger to prove his love for her, he doesn’t take her seriously. Things precipitate in the following scenes, and the conclusion, while far from a surprise or great psychological revelation, offers a satisfying last twist. Director: Claude Chabrol France| 2004. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 110 min.