Opening 20 Dec 2012
Writing credits: Alex Schmidt, Valentin Mereutza
Principal actors: Mina Tander, Laura de Boer, Katharina Thalbach, Max Riemelt, Clemens Schick
There aren’t many full-length horror films produced in Germany. There are even fewer directed by women. Alex(andra) Schmidt’s little horror movie certainly has a female touch. Primarily it is about best friends from childhood who have parted ways, only to meet up twenty-five years later. Hanna (Mina Tander) is a medical doctor living with her husband (not so happily) and young daughter Lea (Lina Köhlert). One evening she receives an emergency phone call to come to the hospital where she finds her old friend Clarissa (Laura de Boer) has been admitted after attempting to take her own life. What a coincidence after all these years……or is it? Hanna and Clarissa rekindle their friendship and decide to return to the island where they had spent their childhood vacations together. Daughter Lea joins them in what proves to be a sentimental journey. Flashbacks of Hanna and Clarissa, two little girls dressed in white romping in the woods, belie the innocence of childhood. The sentimental journey turns sinister. Deep dark secrets from the past about a little girl named Maria come back to haunt them. Maria’s mother (Katharina Thalbach) is a disturbing presence in the film exuding both great sorrow and general creepiness. What starts out as a classic female movie about friendship turns slowly into a horror movie, enhanced by the stomach-churning musical score.
Alex Schmidt has created a terrifying atmosphere playing on the audience’s primal fears. The problem with the film is that the plot becomes more and more contrived; it begins to unravel along with the viewers’ patience. It ends back just where it all started, except for (Attention: Spoiler Alert) the clever role reversals. Du hast es versprochen is another female-relationship based movie, focusing on friendship, a chick flick with an added eerie ambience. (Pat Frickey)