German Angst Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Artsploitation Films
Directed by Jörg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski and Andreas Marschall
Written by Jörg Buttgereit, Goran Mimica and Andreas Marschall
2015, 112 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on June 26th, 2018
Lola Gave as Girl
Andreas Pape as Jens
Matthan Harris as Jacek
Annika Strauss as Kasia
Denis Lyons as Darren
Milton Welsh as Eden
Kristina Kostiv as Kira
Désirée Giorgetti as Maya
Rüdiger Kuhlbrodt as Petrus
German Angst is a horror anthology with three stories from notable underground German directors Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), Michal Kosakowski (Zero Killed) and Andreas Marschall (Tears of Kali). Each delivers an original tale of terror in his own distinct style. Buttgereit is the real draw here, as this is his first foray into the horror genre in the 25 years since he made Schramm (1993). His episode opens the feature and is titled Final Girl. We start with a series of extreme close-ups that are at first disorienting before gradually opening up and becoming clear as to what we are seeing, an unnamed teenage girl and a guinea pig. As she starts her day, she shares behavioral trivia about her pet in voiceover. The girl makes her way through the filthy apartment to the kitchen and retrieves a rather large pair of shears. I won’t spoil what she needs them for, but believe me when I say it is completely cringe-inducing.
Michael Kosakowski is up next with Make a Wish, a tale that begins with a young couple in love exploring the grounds around an abandoned building. Jacek and Kasia are deaf-mutes and they couldn’t be happier. He gives her a talisman that comes with a dark story involving his grandmother and the Nazis. The amulet is prettier than the story, so she accepts it happily. Their fun is interrupted by Jens and his crew of Neo-Nazi thugs looking to cause trouble. They act like the assholes they are before Kasia turns the tables on them. Jacek is not sure what to do initially, but, in a dark turn, goes with it. I’m also keeping this one vague, as it has a good idea at the center and is well-executed.
The final story, Alraune, directed by Andreas Marschall, tells of Eden, a fashion photographer on the outs with his girlfriend and in search of a good time. He finds himself in a club where he crosses paths with Kira, a wild girl with secrets. She excites him on several levels and when their brief date is interrupted, he follows her to another location; a private club with a steep membership fee. Horny and intrigued, Eden agrees to the terms and steps into a world of dreams and nightmares. Uncertain of what is real, he seeks the comfort of his ex. He tells her the whole story, but this is where things get really weird.
Cinematographer Sven Jakob-Engelmann (Masks) shot all three films and has a terrific eye. Each story comes with a distinct visual style that includes long takes, striking close-ups and vibrant color patterns. Final Girl leaves most of the violence to the imagination and the piece is all the more effective for it. Make a Wish is more straightforward with the majority of its violence and includes an over-the-top flashback that pushes the boundaries of bad taste. Alraune features some impressive prosthetic effects work during its dynamic conclusion and is a real blast.
German Angst does not contain the traditional wrap-around story prominent in most anthologies, but the individual episodes are more than entertaining. That being said, Alraune could stand to be shorter, but like its comrades, is beautiful to watch. This German-language film is shocking at times, but never blew me away. It’s nice to see Buttgereit back in the director’s chair, which in itself is enough for me to recommend the picture.
Video and Audio:
German Angst was shot digitally in 2015 and looks great. Presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the picture receives a strong transfer full of rich colors and plenty of fine detail. Black levels are bottomless and contrast is well-balanced.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital track does a fine job balancing dialogue with music and effects. The surround channels come to life in the night club sequences of the third story. A 2.0 stereo mix is also included.
English subtitles are included for those in need.
Directors Michal Kosakowski and Andreas Marschall are on hand for the US premiere in Austin, TX, and provide both an intro to the screening as well as a Q&A after.
Super 8 behind-the-scenes footage (8 minutes) plays silently set to music from the soundtrack. The film is shot in both color and black and white.
The directors sit down for a pitch video (8 minutes) in which they discuss the project and how it will hopefully come together. In German with English subtitles.
A Kickstarter promo for the film finds the directors pitching the project, similar to the previous segment only this time spoken in English.
Two thematically different theatrical trailers present different styles of the marketing campaign.
Two teaser trailers are also on hand; the first compiles footage from the directors’ earlier works while the second features close-ups of an aroused naked woman.