The Burden

(Short – Dir: Nico van den Brink)

Graced with impeccable cinematography that peels away at your already cold skin, The Burden (Het Juk) leaves it mark. Hanna van Vilet and Kay Greidanus play a nameless couple returning to the boyfriend’s childhood home. Celebrating the life and times of his grandfather, they bond with his relatives around the dining table in an act of remembrance. Could there be something he is harbouring away from his girlfriend?

The Burden immediately sets out to lure you in with this beautifully executed long shots and steadicam that make the seat your in temporarily comfortable. Brink’s awareness of your comfort is well documented and he has no intention of letting you hunker down. Bathing in the fear of the unknown, in this case, the darkness of an attic, The Burden has fun toying with your own worries of what could be lurking in the shadows. A scene involving a stuffed bear is wildly great even if the moment is brief.

When the secrets do reveal themselves from the dark, it’s too late to regain any solace you had in these characters. The Burden is one of the festivals greatest offerings yet.

Rating: ★★★★½


The Golden Glove

( Feature – Dir: Fatih Akin)

Fatih Akin’s The Golden Glove is a crime thriller adaptation of Heinz Strunk’s eponymous documentation of serial killer Fritz Honka. Between 1970 and 1975, Honka savagely murdered four women and disposed of their remains in his apartment walls. Named after the bar where Honka would frequently attempt to meet his next unsuspecting victims, this is one of the nastier features to be shown at Celluloid Screams. Opening with a meanspirited capture of Honka’s first kill, The Golden Glove makes it apparent from its first frames that there is no humanity to be found.

This could have easily been presented as a straightforward horror flick, however Akin instead opts to show Honka’s depraved acts as true crime biopic. It’s an interesting choice that sometimes manages to pay off but can’t seem to find its way amongst the utterly sickening acts of violence (both physical and sexual) that occur. Sadly, there is no attempt to dissect the mindset of Honka’s choices or substance to the adaptation of these events. Framing these evil acts with a vomit inducing brutality is a choice that could pay off to show the true horrors of the world around us, but Akin doesn’t seem interested in anything other than the bleak humor or absurdity in Jonas Dassler’s performance.

The Golden Glove feels like it wants to be an animal akin to Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built, but can’t express anything nearly as noteworthy than Von Trier and Dillion’s collaboration. Narrative beats feel rinse and repeat until Honka acquires a night guard job but by then any interest or hope in diving deeper into his madness has already disappeared.

Rating: ★½




Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made

( Feature – Dir: David Amito, Michael Laicini)

Can the power of film be harnessed for something greater? Something… otherworldly? Directing duo David Amito and Michael Laicini think so with their pseudo found footage horror Antrum. Introduced with a mockumentary format and disclaimers both in the cinema itself and visually, Antrum is the story of a lost film that is supposedly sought after amongst a niche group of film fans, festival coordinators and dark web surfers.

Bringing death, dread and misery along with it, the only “copy” of Antrum has now been found for our consumption, should we “survive” to watch it all the way through. Amito and Laicini’s ability to build an illusion of history and hype gives Antrum the room to exude playfulness that might not have otherwise existed in any other format of execution. Showing the actual film itself is only one part of the fun. The holes it digs towards expanding its lore are deeply exciting however not completely satisfying.

If the main feature was to exist as a lone entity, it could easily be written off as a pastiche of 70s subliminal propaganda. The introduction and epilogue sequences that flesh out the mystery of Antrum easily stand out as the highlights. Filled to the brim with hidden imagery and auditory tricks, this duo have all the brilliant capability to set Antrum apart from the mockumentary genre and place into a realm of “experience”. It’s a shame that this concept doesn’t feel as realised as it perhaps could have been. This feels like it was envisioned to be experienced with a large audience in the darkness of an auditorium but may not have the same inviting nature in a home setting.

Seeing Antrum with other unaware individuals makes the fun of this mockumentary almost a necessity to getting more out of its lore. Antrum has all the parts to be a fresh idea but doesn’t quite put them together in the way it thinks it does.

Rating: ★★★