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June 4, 2012

Movie Review: Claustrofobia (2011)

Review: Claustrofobia (2011)

Directed by Bobby Boermans

Starring Dragan Bakema, Carolien Spoor and Thijs Romer

Here's a movie that surprised me quite a bit. The title and box cover led me to assume this was going to be yet another abduction/torture/revenge/wanna-be horror movie. Its not. Its actually a pretty decent little psychological thriller.

The film begins with a sequence showing a young girl and boy hopping a fence and sneaking into an abandoned morgue. Once inside the young girl tricks the boy into climbing into a cadaver locker with the promise of a kiss if he has the nerve to do it. Once inside, she locks the door and walks away, leaving the boy trapped.

The movie then cuts to our main character, Eva (played by Carolien Spoor), a squeamish veterinary student who appears to not be cut out for such a profession. Her secret desire is to be an actress, but lacking motivation she is not very good at that either. Soon after moving into a new apartment complex full of creepy, suspicious looking neighbors, she goes for a girls night out with her best friend and while at a club happens to run into a handsome and charming doctor, Alex Pervis (Dragon Bakema) who coincidentally also lives in her new building. The two girls follow the doctor back to his place for a bottle of wine. Eva is soon feeling like a third wheel and very drowsy so she heads across the hall back to her place. Not long after, a man in dark overalls and a gas mask sneaks into her apartment and strangles her unconscious. When Eva awakens she is in a dank dark cellar, chained to a bed with no clue as to where she is or how she got there.

Now, up to this point in the movie I assumed I was right on the mark in my guess as to the nature of the plot. I sullenly awaited the coming scenes of tired, over-played torture....maybe some severed fingers or nipples, a branding iron to the face, gasoline in the know, the usual stuff. As soon as it became apparent none of those things were going to happen I began to ask myself, Okay, whats really going on? He’s keeping her alive and safe, but why?

That mystery unravels, slowly but surely and at a pretty decent pace from that point on. There are some pretty decent twists and turns, and the tension level steadily rises all the way to the climax of the film, which was actually quite satisfying. The character of the detective, Danny de Koning (Thijs Romer), slowly putting together the puzzle of the missing girl and the suspicious Dr. Purvis and his mysterious motives, worked well in lubricating the gears of this film and it actually became pretty fun watching the story unfold.

Claustrofobia is a movie cast from the “abduction/torture movie mold” but manages to break free of that stereotype and establish itself as a solid thriller, more then worthy of a rental or purchase in my opinion.

The slow start and the fact that there are no extra’s on the disc were a bit disappointing, but in spite of those misgivings its still a pretty sweet little flick. Shot in the Netherlands with all dialog in Dutch, you will most likely be depending on the subtitles, but for seasoned foreign movie fans that certainly shouldn't be an issue.

7 out of 10 Reviewed by KennyB

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