09th Mar2021

‘The Columnist’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Genio de Groot, Katja Herbers, Rein Hofman, Bram van der Kelen, Claire Porro, Harry van Rijthoven, Seno Sever | Written by Daan Windhorst | Directed by Ivo van Aart

The Columnist is very much a movie that could have only been made in the last ten years. There have been a few movies based on a similar story in the last few years, and it is a story that I very much enjoy because it generally covers awful people having awful things happen to them. Something I never tire of seeing.

This story follows columnist and author Femke Boot, who every day receives nasty messages, insults and death threats via social media about the (not very controversial) things she writes. And then one day it gets too much and she decides to take revenge on the trolls… I can’t be the only person who reads that basic description and starts to have small smile on their face. Someone taking revenge on their trolls!! It sounds great already!

Katja Herbers (Westworld, The Americans, The Leftovers) plays the lead role and she is near perfect. Playing the role exactly how you’d want someone to in this situation. Despite her overall life going pretty damn well, she gets progressively more annoyed about the trolls which leads her to do things to them that no one around would believe. The deaths are highly entertaining too. Fitting in with the darkly comedic tone that stays throughout, the attacks and murders are kept believable (she is a small woman, attacking bigger men) but still cool-looking for horror fans. There’s no holding back when it comes to the blood spilling.

At times there is a Dexter vibe to proceedings but only in the “bad people getting their comeuppance” kind of way. Femke is alot more casual and sometimes careless in the way she goes about things. She doesn’t really care too much if things get messy. She wants to make sure her victims know why they have what is coming to them before it happens but she’s not quite Buffy-like with the one-liners. It is more an angry growl at how pathetic they are before they meet their maker.

The Columnist does open up some interesting questions though as it goes on, despite the comedy. Do ‘faceless’ bullies and trolls deserve to pay for what they say online. For how they make people feel. The answer is almost certainly yes for most people but what kind revenge is just? Death is likely too far for any sane person but some of them are really unlikeable. The final scenes show exactly what Femke feels about it all. And the final seconds create this fantastic blood-soaked image that not only looks great on screen but is figuratively such a awesome image too.

The film maybe doesn’t dig deep enough (or kind of ends before it can) on how the leads actions effect everyone around her (including her teenage daughter) but maybe that would have lessened the comedy edge here.

Reminiscent of recent movies A Serial Killers Guide To Life and God Bless America, The Columnist is a highly entertaining fast-paced dark comedy which sets the trend for more of the same in the future. Potentially a cult classic in the making.

**** 4/5

The Columnist is [currently] set for a cinemas and digital release, courtesy of Vertigo Releasing, on 12th March in the UK and Ireland.

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