German Angst Blu-ray Review

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Shocking German Horror From 3 Talented Directors

German Angst is an uncompromising horror anthology from the minds of three underground filmmakers bringing their ‘A’ game. The 2015 German production is comprised of three well-made films from directors Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik, The Death King), Andreas Marschall (Tears of Kali) and Michal Kosakowski (Zero Killed).

Exploring love, sex and death through an often surreal and twisted prism, these are brutal and unforgiving short films that fit surprisingly well together. Anthologies often have weaker entries mixed in with one or two decent films. The great thing about German Angst is that all three blood-curling tales of horror and the macabre are worthwhile for horror fans.

Director Andreas Marschall’s haunting “Alraune” comes up last in viewing order but is the clear linchpin of the anthology. It’s a creepy, Kafkaesque tale of sensuality that with a little help could have been turned into a full feature of its own. The opening film titled “Final Girl” by Jörg Buttgereit is an excellent twist on the standard torture porn template that comes in like a lion and leaves the viewer shocked. Michal Kosakowski’s “Make A Wish” is an oddly affecting film about a young deaf couple using a talisman to save themselves from a tough situation.

… heavyweight horror made for fans willing to tolerate and accept visceral violence

Final Girl is a stylishly directed short film that isn’t for the faint of heart. A young woman lives in her dirty Berlin apartment with her pet guinea pig. A vague sense of unease about her situation is flipped on its head when a bound and gagged man is revealed, tied up in her bedroom. This is the most graphic and visually shocking of the three films, a daring experiment that works for the most part despite some of the goriest scenes ever committed to the screen. It is shock cinema on some level, but the smoothly crafted visual storytelling makes it a great opener for German Angst. Its brevity and gruesome punch-line definitely start things off right.

Next up is Make A Wish, a horror tale concerning a young Polish couple, both deaf and mute, getting victimized by a group of German skin-head thugs. The twist here is that the Polish boyfriend has a magic talisman that was used by his relatives back in World War II to fend off a German attack. Without spoiling how everything works, this flashes back and forth from the present to World War II. This is a tricky piece of supernatural horror that wouldn’t have felt out of place on The Twilight Zone, if you toned down the torture and graphic violence.

Alraune is the most developed and involved film in the anthology, coming in practically all English dialogue. Andreas Marschall’s frightening and alluring tale concerns a Berlin photographer stumbling upon a mysterious woman with the promise of sex at a secret underground club. Eden (Milton Welsh) learns the club uses a legendary plant extract that provides the ultimate sexual pleasure… at a great cost. He becomes obsessed with Kira (Kristina Kostiv), the beautiful woman he followed that led him to this club. But Eden learns that he must submit to Petrus if he wants in the club, leading him down a deadly path. Alraune has a wonderful mix of suspense and seduction that turns Eden’s world into a living nightmare.

German Angst is a powerful trio of horror films. The German filmmakers bring an intensely macabre atmosphere with smart writing and slick storytelling. The movie is not for the squeamish. This is heavyweight horror made for fans willing to tolerate and accept visceral violence that pushes all limits. Final Girl lulls you into a false sense of security before one of the most gruesome scenes ever seen on screen when a character receives the full Lorena Bobbitt. The real gem is Alraune, a frightening and polished blend of sex and death that is good enough to stand on its own.

Video

While each of the three films stitched together for this anthology have differing cinematography, each one offers a fairly smooth and consistent Blu-ray experience. This is modern filmmaking made by experienced filmmakers that know their way around a camera, resulting in solid picture quality.

For underground shock horror using crowdfunding for its financing and independently produced, German Angst almost resembles a big-budget flick. Artsploitation Films gives German Angst a technically strong transfer that likely can’t be improved upon in 1080P resolution.

German Angst runs 111 minutes, encoded in serviceable AVC on a BD-25. There aren’t significant compression problems in the largely pristine 2.35:1 presentation. The relatively flat digital video lacks the depth and dimension of studio projects. However, the razor-sharp video has clarity to spare with a rock-solid contrast. The subdued, muted palette of Final Girl gives way to the richer picture of Alraune with deeper black levels.

It should be mentioned that director Michal Kosakowski’s Make A Wish does incorporate some rougher Super8 footage in flashbacks.

Audio

For a German horror anthology made in Germany, the dialogue for at least two of the included films are largely in English. So there is less reading than one would normally expect from foreign cinema. Artsploitation Films has been stellar in their commitment to Blu-ray in all regards except one. Their releases continue to drop lossless audio tracks even when available.

Both prior editions of this film across the world included German 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio. What we get here is an adequate 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack that probably would have benefited from the pure fidelity of lossless audio. It’s not a huge mix with discrete surround cues flying across space, but decently immersive with intelligible dialogue.

The optional English subtitles play in a yellow font. A secondary German 2.0 Dolby Digital option largely duplicates the soundstage and quality of its surround sibling.

Extras

Purveyor of quality international horror and arthouse cinema, Artsploitation Films digs up a few featurettes and trailers for this pressed Blu-ray edition they call a collector’s edition. This isn’t the first time the 2015 German horror anthology has hit Blu-ray around the world. Most notably, Pierrot Le Fou previously released a German Blu-ray edition with fewer extras. It also was put out as a barebones BD-R in an earlier configuration. Fans will definitely want this new edition that can be had cheaply on Amazon.

Q & A At Fantastic Fest (15:36 in HD) – Two of the three German filmmakers behind the movie show up at this session held a couple of years ago in Austin, along with one of the actors. Director Andreas Marschall gives a less-than-convincing explanation for his included feature, Alraune, when prompted by the audience. It’s a casual, loose discussion more fun than informative.

Behind The Scenes (07:56 in HD) – A mix of Super8 footage taken from the set during filming comprises this featurette. It is wordless and set to background music.

Crowdfunding Video For Startnext (07:46 in HD) – The filmmakers make their pitch for this new venture.

Crowdfunding Video For Kickstarter (06:52 in HD) – The filmmakers introduce themselves, explaining their goals for making the film.

German Angst Trailer 1 (02:07 in HD)

German Angst Trailer 2 (01:48 in HD)

German Angst Teaser 1 (01:59 in HD)

German Angst Teaser 2 (02:04 in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

German Angst
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A well-made German horror anthology clearly made with an eye on English-speaking audiences. This is torture porn, but sophisticated and entertaining torture porn.

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The unaltered images below are taken directly from the movie’s Blu-ray. For an additional 14 uncompressed German Angst screenshots in full resolution, early access to all screens (plus the 13,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.