Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Break – notes

NB: these are my notes on the film, not a review – so you might not want to read them if you’ve not seen it yet.

There really should be a moratorium on films which open with dazed, bloody, injured women staggering through the woods – and this German-made echt-American 70s-style endurance test hateful piece of shit is a prime example of why.  Four young women – Anna (Marina Anna Eich), Clare (Thelma Buabeng), Rose (Esther Maass) and Sarah Carter (Lili Schackert) – all have strong German accents, but are supposed to be American.  They drive into the woods for a weekend of camping so Sarah can get over being dumped by the guy who’s impregnated her.  They run into demented goon Samuel (Ralph Willmann) and his hulking slob sidekick Phil (Sebastian Badenberg), who spend their weekends hunting, torturing, raping, chopping up, disembowelling, posthumously-further-raping and seemingly eating young women who happen by.  The villains don’t get any more characterisation than their deeds, though they are given to snarling antiwoman hatred throughout in a way that might be intended to frame the film as a critique of male anxiety and fear of independent women if this weren’t plainly a film aimed at the lads rather than the ladies.  One of the girls (Clare) is black – and, yes, she dies first, shot through her camera (and head) with an arrow while snapping pictures of some severed feet hanging from a tree.  Anna, the seemingly wilderness capable one, is nailed to two trees, raped by Samuel and stabbed to death (you have to wonder about the IMDb poster who said he liked this bit) – so the rest of the film is about the other two friends, who reminisce about their childhood bond and help each other out by carrying each other bloodied and wounded through the woods, though they ineptly fail to capitalise much on the early death of hit-in-the-head-with-a-spade Phil or to finish off Samuel even after he’s been shot a couple of times.  They even don’t try to wash off the blood plastered all over their faces though there’s plenty of freshwater available in a nearby stream and lake.  The last reel is a long staggering chase, including a car chase sequence, with Willmann’s character ranting in would-be comic misogyny about these ‘fucking bitches’ and getting avenged-on with some stabbing.  It has good-looking Bavarian woods and the weird device of not explaining why all these Yanks have accents as German as the doomed passing German hiker guy (Patrick Jahns) is just befuddling (characters also have surnames which might sound American to someone who doesn’t speak English – Willkock, Cambwright, Awritch).  It’s mean-spirited, in the sense of shooting a pregnant woman just when it seems she’s rescued her friend, but also dumb in a way that makes it hard to sympathise with on every level.  The spectres of Mother’s Day, Just Before Dawn and others lurk, but this is sub-par even in comparison with recent entries like Blood Trail or Manhunt.  There’s a cheery krauty attempt at a 1970s rockabilly theme song, which doesn’t help much.  Written and directed by Matthias Olof Eich of Matthias Olof Eich should fuck off and never make another film fame.  2009.

Kim Newman

About Maura McHugh

I'm a weird writer who lives in Galway, Ireland.


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