Chabrol here tackles obsession, and does it masterfully. This is really the story of two obsessed people, not one. One's a man and one's a woman, and each somehow instantly recognizes in the other, upon first meeting, that they are kindred spirits.
It's easy to see this recognition and also easy to see the obsessiveness in each. Senta--incredibly sensual--is, one realizes fairly quickly, a storyteller, a pathological liar. Philippe is obsessed with his mother and with the stone bust of what appears to be a Roman goddess. If the viewer looks closely--VERY closely--it's not hard to see that the faces of the goddess, Senta, and Philippe's mother are all very similar. At one point in the film, he kisses the stone bust on the lips. Is this normal? I think not. In fact, near the beginning of the film, we are amazed to find that the somewhat older woman whom Philippe obviously appears attracted to and whom he physically relates to, in the outside world, as one would a lover, is in fact his mother. This is definitely not normal behavior.
The pacing here is flawless. Chabrol is, one could say, the undisputed master at probing relentless behavior founded on obsession, and here he is really in his element, as he was in his last truly great film, La Ceremonie. While The Bridesmaid still does not have the astonishing intensity and depth of the 1995 film, it is nevertheless a terrific piece of work that never takes a false step.
The DVD is graced with a nice (text) interview with Chabrol, as well as with a short but telling on-the-set featurette. In the interview, Chabrol notes that one of the key elements of any good thriller is a corpse. This does turn up in The Bridesmaid, but in a startling--even shocking--way, as the viewer will see.
Very highly recommended and a welcome return to the pleasures of Chabrol the master of psychological obsession and its dire consequences.