It’s fair to say Matt Dillon isn’t the toast of the Cannes Film Festival this year.
The actor’s latest movie The House That Jack Built premiered at the annual event in France on Monday and prompted over 100 audience members to flee the theater over the gruesome violence and disturbing subject matter.
“Gross. Pretentious. Vomitive. Torturous. Pathetic,” wrote one attendee on Twitter. Entertainment reporter Roger Friedman described the serial killer thriller as a “vile movie” that “should not have been made.”
Variety editor Ramin Setoodeh described the walkouts as unlike “anything” he’s ever seen at the festival. “‘It’s disgusting,’ one woman said on her way out,” he tweeted.
The scene that reportedly caused the first wave of mass walkouts depicts Dillon’s character shooting two children in the head with a rifle. Another towards the end is said to feature Riley Keough being mutilated.
Despite the controversy, the film still received a prolonged standing ovation, according to Setoodeh.
Its director Lars von Trier was famously banned from the festival in 2011 after making a joke about sympathizing with Nazis during a press conference for the Kirsten Dunst-starrer Melancholia. Last month, the event overturned its decision, allowing The House That Jack Built to play at Cannes in an out-of-competition slot.
The movie, also starring Uma Thurman, opens this fall.