When it comes to splatter and gore, there’s one country that is infamous for it’s underground scene: Germany. I’m guessing that if you’re a cult film fan, you may have sat through a couple. Whether you like them or not, visionaries like Jörg Buttgereit (Nekromantik), Andreas Schnaas (Violent Shit) and Olaf Ittenbach (The Burning Moon) – to name just a few – have not only carved out a macabre living for themselves, but have also marvelled and inspired plenty of filmmakers the world over. From arthouse to shithouse, from DIY to moderately budgeted – there is a vast amount of films from Germany’s bloody and gruesome underground film scene for you to discover. Fast forward to today and it’s a bit more of a scarce landscape. Thankfully, Austrian based label Black Lava Entertainment are one of the distributors giving this often crude art form and its artists a platform to have their films seen around the world. In collaboration with Rotten Cat Media, they have released Dark Corridor Entertainment’s Lock the Doors – Trügerische Sicherheit by Dark Corridor’s own Stefan Peschmann (under the name of Mr. Zito). They were also kind enough to send a copy to review. It’s time to get bloody!
Anna (Sabine Wedde) is your typical teenage girl. She lives a relatively simple life, has a job as a babysitter and of course friends who believe she puts her work first before anything else. Her latest job sees her driving to arse end of nowhere, but money is money so she doesn’t let get in the way. After eventually finding the house in an almost secluded and run down little area, she’s worried she is too late, but thankfully her client is a patient soul and welcomes her in straight away. After showing her around the house, providing the usual “in case of emergency” information and of course – the baby – the woman leaves to join an anniversary party. What starts off as a dull, yet simple babysitting job soon turns in to a nightmare. You see, a serial killer has recently been released. Combine that with a mysterious looking man nearby, Anna is concerned and invites her friend over to accompany her. Is she just paranoid or in danger? Is the infamous serial killer on the loose nearby or is there something much more sinister afoot? No matter what, Anna best be getting good pay for this!
Ok. You got me. This is a gore film from Germany, of course there is something sinister going on. There’s a man dressed in black donning a gas mask for fuck’s sake! The thing is, there are some nice twists and turns throughout that I can’t really mention here because they actually work and in terms of plot, and set this offering apart from the usual splatter fare. My only real flaw I can find in terms the writing is that the film often plods along, sometimes coming to a holt and at around 97 minutes long, can be a tad bit tedious at points. That being said, all the actors do a very solid job, even the cannon fodder. Speaking of which, there are some genuinely nice and effective kills and some great moments of gore that occasionally fall in to the cheesy side of things, but I did genuinely squint at some. Arguably the aspect that makes this film stand out the most is the production value. Of course, it’s an extremely low-budget film with Peschmann doing a lot of the production himself (with help from others obviously!) so it’s not going to compete with even some of the moderately budgeted films out there, but damn does this film look good!
Instead of the go-to SOV style of filmmaking, what we have here is a crisp looking film with great cinematography (including some really nice drone footage) and solid editing. It’s still crude in some aspects, but I think anyone would be proud of this as one of their first feature length films. There are just some really nice touches throughout, especially a simple, yet very effective closing credits sequence. I should also briefly mention that you should stick around after the credits have finished because that, combined with the way the film actually pans out warrants repeat viewing to fully grasp the story. Overall, this quite an interesting little film that breaks away from tradition, but still has enough in there to pay respects to the gruesome cinematic abortions (that is meant in the best possible way of course!) of yesteryear and I very much look forward to seeing what Peschmann and everyone involved has to offer in the future.
In terms of the release itself, Black Lava have put this out in a nice 2 disc digipack release with slipcase and a choice of two artworks. The second disc is the soundtrack which for the film works perfectly, especially if you love the 90′s synth style music found in some German splatter offerings. As well as that, there is a trailer and outtakes. Finally, although in German language, there is the option to watch with subtitles that are both accurate and can easily be read. All in all, the film may not really be my thing, but it’s a genuinely great release that even some bigger films would be jealous of. Don’t get me wrong by the way, I did have fun with this one and everyone involved in the film and the final release did a cracking job so if you’re a fan of this sort of thing…. What the hell are you waiting for!?