German Angst (2015)

German Angst
Segment Final Girl
Director: Jörg Buttgereit
Writer: Jörg Buttgereit
Cast: Lola Gave, Axel Holst
Segment Make a Wish
Director: Michal Kosakowski
Writer: Goran Mimica
Cast: Annika Strauss, Matthan Harris, Andreas Pape, Daniel Faust, Martina Schöne-Radunski, Denis Lyons
Segment Alraune (translates to Mandrake)
Director: Andreas Marschall
Writer: Andreas Marschall
Cast: Milton Welsh, Kristina Kostiv, Désirée Giorgetti, Rüdiger Kuhlbrodt, Lucia Wolf
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.04.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

In Final Girl, a young girl (Lola Gave) tries to break free from her home and her father (Axel Holst), in a rather extreme way.
In Make a Wish, a group of Nazis (Andreas Pape, Daniel Faust, Martina Schöne-Radunski, Denis Lyons) get their hand on a hearing-impaired couple (Annika Strauss, Matthan Harris) who may be in possession of a body-switch amulet.
In Alraune, a photographer (Milton Welsh) gets drawn into a mysterious club by the beautiful Kira (Kristina Kostiv) and he is soon obsessed with both.

With German Angst, the three directors tried to inject some fresh blood into the German horror movie scene. Their segments are pretty much independent of each other. The result is mixed, but one thing is for certain: it’s a film all about the fears of men, women are of not much concern to it.


[After the jump, I’ll talk about each of the segments on their own. SPOILERS follow.]

The Final Girl was my personal favorite of the three segments. At first I thought that they were going for a killer guinea pig angle – the opening is rather sinister that way. But it turned out to go in a completely different direction, even though guinea pigs do play their part in it.

There were very thin hints that the Final Girl was a victim of abuse and that’s why she so desperately wants out, but they were so subtle (and the rest of the film wasn’t subtle at all) that I was uncertain if that was really what they were going for. But since the Final Girl usually is the last victim standing, the one to get away, I’m guessing that they were going for a re-interpretation of that in the sense that the abuse victim may or may not take her bloody revenge (the last shots do call into question that all the violence she inflicts on her father actually happened at all).

How is a story like that all about a male fear? Well, about 80% of the film (it seems) is spent on the pain of the father and ultimately his castration. And I can tell you one thing: cutting off dicks is not something women usually fear.

germanangst1Make a Wish was a mixed bag of beans. I appreciated the fact that the protagonists have impaired hearing. Though it would have been even better if they had actually bothered to cast actors with impairments as well and maybe had bothered to do a little research into hearing impairments, so that maybe they would have realized that only very few people are mute as well and can’t express themselves at all verbally, even if they might prefer not to – in a life or death situation, they probably would. Also, the director later said that he just wanted to make the victims extra vulnerable and extra helpless, and while there might be extra vulnerability, a disability doesn’t necessarily mean helplessness, so that sucked. [And it all ends up being about how he is – or isn’t – able to protect his girlfriend…]

The body switching angle was weird and caused more than a few plot holes. The Nazi!Harley Quinn rip-off was a little much, as was the violence. I’m not easily unsettled by violence, but I cringed a lot in this one.

And when it all led to a passionate plea (creepily perfect acting by Andreas Pape) for the attackers and how they really need our compassion and our forgiveness (all shortly before burning somebody alive), I was at a loss. Had we switched sides so often I lost track of who was supposed to be the “good guys” in the entire thing? I don’t know. But any film material that I can imagine nazis watching and applauding is film material that makes me deeply uncomfortable – even if it wasn’t meant that way. And that’s exactly what I can imagine here.

germanangst2Alraune starts of intriguing and then completely unravels. I just thought that I had seen so much of it already – and I hadn’t liked it when I first saw it: the unlikeable main character who has the understanding girlfriend, but he also chases other women; the mysterious femme fatale who draws the protagonist into her world – willingly or unwillingly; the super-secret club that has its dark secret (and that was stolen from Eyes Wide Shut, as not only I noticed, but also somebody else in the audience who asked the director about it – who was really surprised by this completely obvious connection).

It also doesn’t help that they fridged not one, but two women for the sake of the protagonist and that the segment became increasingly boring. After the good beginning and also the cool monster idea, this segment was above all disappointing.

germanangst3Summarizing: Has its moments, but didn’t blow me away.

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