Grimm Love (aka Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story) DVD Review
None of us have perfect lives. - Katie
Directed by Martin Weisz
Written by T.S. Faull
2010, Region 1 (NTSC), 85 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on September 28th, 2010
Kerri Russell as Katie Armstrong
Thomas Huber as Simon Grombeck
Thomas Kretschmann as Oliver Hartwin
In Germany in 2001, Armin Meiwes killed and ate Bernd Brandes, a willing volunteer to Meiwes' fantasy to consume human flesh. The beginning of Grimm Love notes that the film was inspired by this case, which is a completely fair claim. While the filmmakers have taken some liberties with the case, they certainly nailed some of the major facts. I generally cringe when I see a "based on" or "inspired by" claim because many times it translates to "we took something horrific that happened in real life and made it suck" or, worse, "this didn't happen at all. Anywhere. Ever. We just think it's cool to lie to you. So sit back and enjoy this shitfest." Certainly there are exceptions to that rule, like Psycho (loosely based on Ed Gein) or Fargo (not based on anything), and I'll go as far as to say Grimm Love is an exception, as well. While it's not horrible movie by any stretch, it's just so incredibly…blah, which is unfortunate.
In Love, Kerri Russell (Felicity) stars as Katie Armstrong, an American psychology student in Germany writing her thesis on cannibal Oliver Hartwin and his eager victim, Simon Grombeck. While the first name on the box cover (and the biggest head), Russell is not much more than a narrator, as her character is constrained to mostly voiceover describing the events that led up to the last dinner date of snacker and snackee. Certainly she isn't relegated to just a voice, as the film follows Katie to Hartwin's house and childhood school, but the moment she gets to the points of interest, flashback mode starts and Thomas Kretschman and Thomas Huber pick up their roles as Hartwin and Grombeck, respectively. It's interesting that Russell is in the film at all since, even though she didn't hurt the movie, it seems her presence is kind of pointless. The story could have just has easily been told without her, and in the commentary Weisz mentioned quite a few scenes that were cut out that could have been used to fill the space Russell's character took up.
Grimm Love is a slow movie. The majority of the film is spent on telling the story of Hartwin and Grombeck, starting with their childhoods. The movie attempts to explain why the two made the decisions that they did later in life, and does an adequate enough job doing so. The problem is, though, there's so little tension. Love moves more like a docudrama than a horror movie. It's not until the last 10 minutes or so, when Hartwin and Grombeck finally get down to business, that things actually start happening. Normally I would applaud the attention to character development shown in a film, as that is a high point in this movie, but as a horror film, there's nothing scary about it. There are some uncomfortable scenes sprinkled throughout, but there is no genuine fear. It's rather surprising that this is part of the Fangoria FrightFest lineup since it's obviously more of a dramatic character study than horror.
Yet, that said, the movie is still enjoyable on some level. Like I mentioned, director Martin Weisz spent an ample enough time with the characters to make them interesting and not one dimensional, which would have been easy to do. The childhood sequences were critical to add a needed depth to the cook and his dish to add reasoning for their situations. This isn't a story about Michael Myers, but real people. And when you are dealing with reality, even in an inspired sense, it's nice to know where the seeds were planted. In addition, Kretschman and Huber were both excellent in their roles, each demanding attention in each scene they are in separately and brilliantly playing off each other when in scenes together. This makes the film all the more frustrating since you have two well-developed characters being portrayed by two incredibly competent actors, but you just don't have them doing anything of interest.
I suspect that Grimm Love is the type of film that gets better with more viewings, especially since you know what you are getting into. However, as interesting as it is, it's not the type of movie you can just pop in at any time to enjoy. It's too bad that the movie lacked so much tension; it could have been so much more. Rent it.
Video and Audio:
I have no complaints with Love's 2.35:1 anamorphic presentation. With muted colors appropriate to match the darkness of what's taking place on screen, it looks pretty good with adequate black levels and no noticeable flaws.
The 5.1 DD audio is more than enough to get the job done. Love is dialog driven, and the audio is evenly balance and always clear.
- Director/Producer Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- 8 Fangoria Frights
The DVD is pretty light on features, only offering some deleted scenes, a commentary and the standard trailers.
The commentary with Martin Weisz is upbeat, however, and the director discusses a lot of things that didn't make it into the movie, as well as some behind-the-scenes anecdotes.