★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Berta Kammer is fantastic as an elderly woman who fights a highly unusual supernatural intruder that invades her home in a Christmas fear-fare film that serves up heart with its horror.
Directed by Paul Ertl
Austrian supernatural horror Rupture (Der Riss, 2022) is a Christmas-set horror film that boasts a wonderfully satisfying third act. Frau Pospisil (Berta Kammer) is an elderly woman living on her own. Her son Patrick (Philipp Hochmair), who stands to inherit her flat, thinks that she is mentally incompetent and should be committed to a nursing facility. The occurrences that happen when she is alone in her home indeed border on the insane, beginning innocently enough with Frau Pospisil doing her best to seal a crack in a wall to keep ants out of her place, but escalating into incidents that leave her home in messy and increasingly dangerous conditions. It’s easy to see why Patrick and the woman’s neighbors might think that she is no longer in any condition to live alone. But if her son can’t drive her out of her home, neither will the resourceful Frau Pospisil allow any other entity — paranormal or not — to do so. Writer/director Paul Ertl crafts a super creature feature of a different stripe that boasts a sensational lead performance from Kammer, whose character runs through a gamut of emotions, with the actor nailing every nuance. Running at a lean, mean 53 minutes, Rupture will both thrill and delight viewers. It’s horror with heart.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Aficionados of challenging, out-there cinema need to put this remarkable offering on their must-see lists.
Directed by Alex van Warmerdam
You know how people who saw One Cut of the Dead (Japan, 2017) told others who hadn’t seen it yet not to give up on its being a certain style because it held a huge surprise for them later on in the film that shouldn’t be spoiled? Well, I’m here to say something similar about writer/director Alex van Warmerdam’s genre-defying Nr. 10 (Netherlands, 2021) — only expect the cinematic rug to be pulled out from under you in a decidedly different manner. What starts off as a darkly comic drama among a theater troupe — for example, lead actor Günter (Tom Dwispelaere) is having an affair with fellow actor Isabel (Anniek Pheifer), who happens to be the wife of the play’s director Karl (Hans Kesting) — begins to take its first out-there turn when Günter, who was found in the forest as a child, starts receiving mysterious hints about his biological mother. Go into Nr. 10 knowing no more than that — other than that it definitely fits into the genre-film category — and prepare to be as blown away as I was by this expertly directed and acted work. It plays with your mind masterfully, and I had to watch the ending three times in a row because it melted my brain and left my jaw on the floor. I hope it does the same for you.
Reviews by Joseph Perry
Rupture and Nr. 10 screened as part of SLASH Film Festival, which took place in Vienna from September 22–October 2, 2022. For more information, visit https://slashfilmfestival.com/en/.