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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 05.28.19] Austria horror

Lukas Feigelfeld's Hagazussa is not for the faint of heart. A primal exploration of madness and isolation amid the plagues and paranoia of 15th Century Europe, the film transports viewers into a special kind of lonely hell where every creak and wind rustle sends a shiver down the spine, and dark magic may or may not be at work all around.

MMMD's guttural, primordial score announces the film's intent to take us back to one of the scariest times in human history. A time when superstition and religion melted together and were almost indistinguishable. And in fact, one of the film's great accomplishments is leaving you grasping between the two, determined to figure out if what you witnessed was magic or madness. It's near impossible, but a thrilling place to get to if you let the film put you under its spell.

We open on a group of old women in dark robes congregating at the foot of a mountain to see a young girl and her mother (is she?), begin a journey upwards to live in an isolated cabin. Who are these women? A coven? It's all very vague, or perhaps just unspoken, a feature of the film the will frustrate some but draw others in.

Set in chapters, Hagazussa follows Albrun (played by Aleksandra Cwen), first as a young girl living in the mountains with a creepy woman that may or may not be her mother, and then into adulthood as she fights against forces both real and imaginary that would have her succumb to nature's dark forces. I really don't want to give too much about the story away here as it's all deceivingly simple plot-wise, but thematically layered.

While the film carries an overall prestige quality similar to The Witch, cinematographer Mariel Baqueiro allows it to fluctuate between beauty and ugliness, contrasting the breathtaking mountain setting with psychotropic imagery right out of a Panos Cosmastos movie.

Hagazussa is horror as art and a movie that seems simple on its face, but lingers inside your brain for days after watching it, haunting your thoughts as you try to re-engage with modern life.

Recommended Release: Hagazussa

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Wumpus (1 year ago) Reply

This was just added to Prime. Thank you, Amazon!


shiteater (1 year ago) Reply

Boring, derivative, trash

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