Das Schneckenhaus (2006)

TV Movie   |    |  Drama, Horror, Mystery

Andrea Sawatzki plays a woman, who tries to start a new life after a personal tragedy, but moves into a mysterious apartment building. On her birthday's eve, Franziska Giano celebrates a ... See full summary »


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9 November 2007 | vanillaqueen-2
| Another brainless German rip-off
"Dark Water" meets "Rosemary's Baby" in this stunningly atrocious laugh fest featuring Sawatzki (in a short wig quite obviously designed to make her look like an emaciated version of Mia Farrow) as a single mother who moves into a new apartment building with her blind teenage daughter. At first, everything seems okay, the elderly lady next door is nice and friendly, Tukur's jovial doctor's making passes at her, but then . . . well, then the pulse effects culled from Kurosawa's "Kairo" set in, the camera does a lot of wild panning, zooming, dollying etc. and the basement lights start to flicker to let us know that straaaaaange things are happening. Ooooaaaaaaah!

Just about everything in this clinker is shamelessly ripped off from other movies, unfortunately without any skill, balls or brains. First off, there's no character development whatsoever, so more or less all of them come across as annoying rather than worth rooting for. Then, the apartment building is neither an old, dark art-deco monstrosity (as in "Rosemary's Baby") nor an anonymous hi-tech high-rise (as in "Dark Water") but a drab, sixties-built German tenement which seems about as threatening as a hamster cage. To make up for this, the bone-headed set designers decided to let Sawatzki's apartment have bare concrete walls, a feature fairly uncommon in German housing. Andrea Sawatzki seems to think that if you act in an, uh, horror movie, you just have to walk through every scene as if on drugs: in a wide-eyed, open-mouthed daze, confusedly wondering what the hell is going on; Grit Böttcher (as the next-door neighbor) does a much too restrained take on the Ruth Gordon character from "Rosemary" and dumps the "chocolate mouse" for a more down-to-earth goulash; Tukur is his usual hammy self; and Zapatka listlessly goes for the Maurice Evans part as Sawatzki's fatherly bookseller friend who, needless to say, gets killed after having investigated the "weird" history of "the premises". Dialog is either dumb or stilted or both, the acting is absurdly poor throughout - what are these people doing in this turkey anyway? Didn't they read the friggin' script? - and the whole thing is so painfully slow and devoid of any logic, sense or thrills that it'll bore your socks off.

In short: another ridiculous example of what German film-making and especially TV has become - a cheap Xerox machine churning out dumbed-down, fifth-rate rip-offs of successful international fare. It's as depressing as it is offensive and basically makes you want to punch everyone involved.

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Drama | Horror | Mystery

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