Knife+Heart is a French horror drama by Yann Gonzalez. The wacky and thrilling plot stars Vanessa Paradis as a gay porn producer in the 1970s. Sounds interesting, right? Well, it is! Surrender to it and enjoy. 

Knife+Heart was part of AFI Fest 2018, where we caught a screening. The theater was packed despite this screening being close to noon on a Saturday.

If you know the style of director Yann Gonzalez, you might know what you’re in for. But really, it’s hardly required to know any of his past films to enjoy this one.

Not only does it take place in Paris in 1979 – which is enough to create all the campy and kitch moments, you might want. No, the story of Knife+Heart (org. title Un couteau dans le coeur) takes place in the gay porn business.

How can you not be entertained?! 

Vanessa Paradis takes charge

The lead role in Knife+Heart is played by Vanessa Paradis. She’s the owner of the company producing gay porn. Gay male porn. She herself is in an on/off relationship with the company’s editor, who is also a woman.

However, the rather erratic behavior of Anne Parèze (Vanessa Paradis) has caused Loïs McKenna (Kate Moran) to end the relationship. Anne isn’t known as someone who simply accepts things, so she tries to win back Loïs while also keeping the business going.

Of course, since the producer and editor have to work together, things quickly get a bit more tricky.

However, this isn’t the story of Knife+Heart. Instead, it’s the story of a serial killer who singles out the actors that have performed in the gay porn movies produced by her company.

Because she’s so heartbroken and scared for her actors, she throws herself into the investigation. Especially since the French police couldn’t care less about gay porn actors dying. Something the movie also tackles head-on.

Or rather, Vanessa Paradis manages to get the point across as her character, Anne. She might be a bit on the wild and crazy side, but she’s also a fierce protector of the people in her life.

Knife+Heart Horror Review

Bloody humor

There’s no doubt that the more wacky side of Knife+Heart offers heaps of entertainment and laughter. However, the story never loses sights of the serial killer case.

We might get some funny moments in between and all around, but the actual murders stand on their own. They tend to be very bloody and done very much in the style of 1970s thriller movies. A bit over the top but never as a joke.

The main director of the movies released, by the gay porn production company, is a previous actor. When the current actors are (understandably) scared for their lives, he goes back in front of the camera. And thank the Goddess for that. 

His name is Archibald Langevin and he’s portrayed absolutely brilliantly by Nicolas Maury. While Vanessa Paradis is the main protagonist and moves the story along, Nicolas Maury is the heart and laughter of Knife+Heart

Don’t miss out on Knife+Heart

This is only the second feature film for director Yann Gonzalez. In 2013, he made You and the Night (org. title Les rencontres d’après minuit) which won several awards just as this movie has. He previously made quite a few short films, which also tended to win awards at film festivals worldwide. 

The script for Knife+Heart was written by Yann Gonzalez and Cristiano Mangione. This is the first writing credit for Cristiano Mangione, but I certainly hope it isn’t the last.

We caught a screening at AFI Fest 2018 in November and it’s still playing at film festivals worldwide. If you get the chance, I would definitely watch it in a movie theater. Otherwise, make sure you watch it once it’s out on VOD (no known release date yet).

Knife+Heart [org. title Un couteau dans le coeur] premiered at Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2018.


Director: Yann Gonzalez
Writers: Yann Gonzalez, Cristiano Mangione
Cast: Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moran, Nicolas Maury, Félix Maritaud, Pierre Pirol


Paris, summer 1979. Anne is a producer of gay porn at discount. When Loïs, her editor and companion, leaves her, she attempts to reclaim her by turning a film more ambitious with the flamboyant Archibald.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
Latest posts by Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard (see all)