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SFF 2015: German Angst Review

by Luke Ryan Baldock

German AngstDirectors: Jorg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski, Andreas Marschall.

Cast: .

Certificate: N/A

Running Time: 111 minutes

Synopsis: A German anthology of dark and twisted tales of sex, violence, and guinea pigs.

The horror anthology continues to gather momentum in this very harsh effort from Germany. Dealing with all kinds of darker issues, such as sex of the naughty variety and stressed relationships between Poles and neo-nazis, German Angst may not exactly pin-point the specific nationwide angst, but it certainly presents us with three clear tales of delightfully grim distortion.

The first effort, called The Final Girl, sees a girl (Gave) merely compare human existence with that of a guinea pig. It’s shot with some extreme close-ups, so those who are not fans of injury detail need to look away. These close-ups take us right in to the action, and although we’re spared a full-on castration scene (it’s powerful enough), there’s still plenty of squirmy moments. Shot almost entirely in a single apartment, and with the close-ups aided by shallow depth of field, which highlights specific objects or points. This focus runs through to that of the main character, as she philosophically muses on whether we are much better than a household pet. It’s a decent start, but certainly wants to convey ideas more than a story.

Next up is Make A Wish, a film in which a deaf and mute couple get together and the man, Jacek (Harris), recounts a tale of a family heirloom. This tale, told in flashback, sees nazis invade a Polish town. The violence is exceptionally cruel, and it’s all shot in a grindcore style of flickery gritty filters. The heirloom allows for people to switch bodies, and after the tale is told the couple is set upon by some modern day neo-nazis and Jacek soon finds himself in the body of his tormentor. We see some really gruesome stuff here, and although that’s fine, it is played against some extremely over the top performances by the neo-nazis. They can’t be taken seriously with all their cartoonish cackling and the dialogue is also laughable at points. It’s a nice twisted tale, but one where seriousness could have improved things.

The final, and lengthiest, segment is titled Alraune, and follows Eden (Welsh) as he ventures into a dark and mysterious club after being attracted to a young woman. He soon finds his fantasies coming true, but only if he leaves a mask on and promises not to peak. It heavily hints at something vampiric, but lets just say there’s something even more twisted at the end of this tale. Alraune works as a beautifully twisted fable, and let’s face it, sex and horror are always a good mix for sheer uncomfortableness. There’s more mystery than the others, and more story as well. Welsh has plenty of time to develop his smarmy alpha male into a more submissive creature. It’s the darkest of the bunch, in both looks and content, and uses its time brilliantly.

German Angst certainly highlights a lot of great talent, and each film utilises shocking practical effects and good old fashioned pain. It’s the kind of film that assures you you are not desensitised to violence, you just need your violence to look real. Each film also has a philosophy behind it which adds food for thought along with the carnage. Interesting and bold, this will satisfy lovers of the genre and anthologies.

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