Angst (Fear) Reviews
The film starts with sweeping shots of a prison and then centers on the central character. As he is shaving he explains that he stabbed his own mother and killed a 70-year-old woman, which are the reasons he is in prison. Then the guards come to his door because he is being let out after 14 years.
The movie then follows ?the killer? as the character is called as he tries to live the life of a free man. It is something that he utterly fails at, because he is always analyzing who his next victim should be. The film reaches the breaking point when he forcibly enters a suburban home and waits for the family that lives there. When the family of 3 arrives at home he incapacitates the daughter who is the strongest family member and then the movie revolves around how he kills each family member in graphic detail. First he kills the mother by suffocating her, then he drowns the paraplegic son in a tub full of water, and finally he chases after the daughter stabs her with a knife multiple times and then ?has his way? with her still warm corpse. He then drives to town with the dead family in the trunk of his car and gets into an accident. The film ends with him showing the police what he has in his trunk. In 1983 the year that this film came out it received an X rating for violence even with film standards becoming more lax than they had been in previous years. After its initial showing in the theaters the film drifted into obscurity and disappeared. Then years later came the advent of the Internet and recently this masterpiece of shock cinema has finally become available again if only online for the time being.
Shot from below, above, in extreme close-ups and other impossible angles, Angst tells the story of a frustrated killer, just out of jail, eager to meet his next victim. His voice-over tells a chilling story of lust, the history of his deprivations and past crimes.
After a botched attempt to strangle a cab-driver, he comes to a secluded, large house which he breaks into. "I thought, this is paradise to me", go his rambling thoughts. The house is occupied by a dog, a brother and sister and their mother. The killer overpowers them all and unleashes his (clumsy) reign of terror on them. His plan is to let them watch each others deaths and take pleasure out of their fear and misery. They are sacrifices for his joy.
He is a man hunted by his own fears of the past. With his twisted fantasies of murder, fear and control, in the end he shows himself to be a huge failure, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
The Klaus Schulze music-track is quite surreal at times and haunting.
The sound department fails. Sounds are too loud, there is sound when there should be silence. There are awful stock sounds: footsteps, breaking glass. While the musical score complements the film, the sound does it no good.
In many ways, Angst is a comedy, however black it may be; the film's unnamed killer (based, supposedly, on German psychopath Werner Kniesek) has to be one of filmdom's most incompetent. And this while fancying himself a fine specimen of moral decay, right up there with folks like Peter K√ 1/4rten (from whom some of his narration is cribbed). It's what a horror movie would be, were that horror movie written by Edward Murphy. Add to that the presence of the film's humorous foil, a lazy, if observant, dachshund, and this could have been a movie to rank with the great gross-out comedies of all time (Eating Raoul comes to mind). What keeps it from ever slipping over the line into that sort of silliness is Oscar-winner Zbigniew Rybczynski's consistently off-kilter camerawork. There is no point in this movie where the viewer doesn't realize that something is dramatically off.
It has long been theorized that Gerald Kargl is, in fact, Rybczynski under another name (along with cinematographer, Rybczynski, who won his Oscar for directing the short ‚Tango‚?, is credited as co-writer), and it's certainly the case that Angst resounds with Rybczynski's favorite themes; obsession, confession, repetition (this latter reinforced subtly and effectively thanks to a score by Tangerine Dream frontman Klaus Schulze). Here we have a killer (Taxidermia's Erwin Leder), just released from prison, who finds himself with the uncontrollable urge to kill again. He's spent the opening few minutes narrating to us the story of how he ended up in prison in the first place (for the second time). He finds himself with the perfect opportunity to kill again, bungles it, and flees to what he hopes is an abandoned house in the woods. It is not, however, which gives him the opportunity to take out his murderous impulses. Assuming, of course, he can work up the nerve to actually kill anyone.
To tell you exactly where this movie makes the leap from black comedy into the realm of the truly disturbing would be quite the spoiler, so I'll just say that the killer's first victim pushes the bounds of taste in a serial killer movie. This is where it could have crossed the line into hilarity, given a different treatment of the material, but the filmmakers allow the victim a sort of pathetic dignity that renders the scene painful to watch. From then on, the movie treads this line between the silly and the shocking admirably, always staying just far enough on the shocking side that it's obvious this was a conscious decision by the filmmakers. Kargl (if he exists) and Rybczynski have created a minor gem here, though probably not one that would be appreciated by those weak of stomach. Tough to find, but worth seeking out. ****
The camera work is the best I've ever seen, I love to watch new ad interesting ways of putting the camera or moveing it and in this movie the camera is continually moveing no matter what's happening. It's hard to explain, but it's very angled and very unusual. You've seen similar camera-work in many movies but none of them can top this.
Gaspar Noe, one of my all time favourite directors, has stated that Angst is a huge influence on his work. And if you watch any Noe film you can see Angst's stamp all over it in a good way.