Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Urban Explorer aka The Depraved (2011)

My notes on the FrightFest selection.

‘They used German romantic music to lure people to become slaves on their spacecraft.’


This has a major problem: in an early scene, Kris (Max Riemelt), who guides urban explorers (young thrill-seekers with torches) around the maze of tunnels and bunkers under Berlin, talks about ‘the Odin people’, experimentally-augmented Nazis who are part of Hitler’s secret space program.  This raises hope that there’s going to be a 1940s German flying saucer in a cavernous bunker under the city.  Instead, we get a former East German underground border guard, Armin (Klaus Stiglmeier), turned cannibal after experiences in Afghanistan, who preys on the unwary who trespass in his domain.  The thing is, if you promise me mutant Nazi spacemen, then you can’t get away with giving me a crotchety communist cannibal.  Sorry.


Otherwise, this has an interesting location – though I’ve seen variations set in London (Creep), New York (Stag Night), Paris (Catacombs) and Moscow (Trackman) in the last few years – and among the most irritating set of characters ever tortured, slashed and eaten.  French Marie (Catherine de Lean) and Korean Juna (Brenda Koo) have some potential (aside from the exploitative angle, it would be innovative to have a lesbian couple as leads in a non-niche slasher film and, no, Haut Tension doesn’t count on this score), but undramatically walk off early ‘to get help’ – after an unwise flash-photograph has made the guide fall into a pit and break his leg – only to turn up dead and eaten later, which puts all the weight on American Denis (Nick Eversman) and Venezuelan Lucia (Nathalie Kelley), who are so useless in a crisis that it’s almost a character point, but for the way they dawdle back into danger each time it looks like there’s a chance for escape.  Stiglmeier has a great face, but is just the regular can’t-be-injured-by-shooting-or-bludgeoning-to-the-head-for-plot-convenience-sake menace until one good specific German moment when he catches up with Lucia after she’s managed to crawl into the subway system and get on a train but he poses as a ticket inspector and hauls her off without any other passengers stopping her because she hasn’t got a ticket.  In another tiny, almost thematically-interesting moment, a minor character dies instants before pressing a button which would summon help because he’s been given pause by a sign promising a penalty for improper use.


It has way too many cliché elements, deployed without a twist: a chair to be strapped to for torturing, the human stew bubbling away on the stove, the fake phone call to summon help on the phone that turns out not to be connected, the pile of mobile phones (and severed heads) that indicate previous victims, the red herring underground thugs with a nasty dog, the guns that fire or misfire as convenient for the story.  Now, can I have my Odin People film, please.  Written by Martin Thau; directed by Andy Fetscher.


Here’s a trailer.


One thought on “Film review – Urban Explorer aka The Depraved (2011)

  1. Stephen Bissette Oh, I despair of revising the long-overdue cannibal movie book I wrote back in 1990. So many lame-ass post-1990 cannibal movies to slog through; yep, bring on the Odin People.

    CJ Lines “If you promise me mutant Nazi spacemen, then you can’t get away with giving me a crotchety communist cannibal.” <— truer words have rarely been written.

    Hugh Kenneth David Odin People film now required!

    Dex Fernandez I agree with CJ. That line was a thing of beauty, sir.

    Steve Kirkham Didn't help that the print shown at FrightFest didn't have subtitles for all the German dialogue!!! There was us thinking what a brave move to make us empathise with the characters who couldn't understand either only to be told it was a cockup and they sent a print without subs. Oops. Agree that there was a way better film buried in that dialogue waiting to be made.

    Posted by kimnewman | May 16, 2017, 1:05 pm

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