6.9/10
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1 user 12 critic

Hagazussa (2017)

Paranoia & Superstition in 15th Century Europe.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Aleksandra Cwen ...
Albrun
Claudia Martini
Celina Peter
Tanja Petrovsky ...
Swinda (as Tanja Petrovskij)
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Paranoia & Superstition in 15th Century Europe.

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folk horror | rural | woods | paranoia | See All (4) »

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Horror

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Release Date:

22 September 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hagazussa: A Heathen's Curse  »

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User Reviews

 
Pure darkness
9 November 2017 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

The Austrian Alps provide the dramatic setting for this dark tale of persecution and derangement in 15th Century Europe. Albrun lives with her mother in an isolated hut, high up on the snowbound slopes. Her life is a dark one, having to contend with her mother's failing health and erratic behaviour, as well as the stigma of being branded a witch's daughter by hostile locals. This snapshot of Albrun's early life comprises the first chapter of the film; the remaining three show her as a young woman, deeply troubled and living a lonely life as a goat herder, still struggling to come to terms with the damage of her childhood.

There are parallels with Von Trier's Antichrist - in the themes as well as the look and feel of the film - I think it's obviously a big influence on director Lukas Feigelfeld. As a first full feature, it's remarkably accomplished. The atmosphere created by the visuals is sublime, evoking a strong sense of the Gothic through beautiful photography of the naturally ominous environment, and is complimented by meticulous sound design and an intense, brooding drone score.

It won't be for everyone, it's not an easy watch: there's minimal dialogue, the narrative structure is loose and the darkness doesn't let up. Anyone looking for a straightforward story will be disappointed, as it's as much an exercise in tone as it is storytelling. The pacing is very measured throughout, almost to the point of being excruciating, but that only seems to add to the exquisite torture of this dark gem.


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