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A prison bus with over a dozen criminals on board has an accident and rams another car, in which Dr. Douglas Madsen was on his way home. Most of the prisoners die. Four of them survive, one of them severely injured. After having killed all the guards, they head for the woods. They take Dr. Douglas Madsen hostage. Suddenly a huge house appears in the middle of the woods. The leader of the group, Arthur, emphasizes that he will kill Douglas and every single member of the "family" if his wounded brother would die. Meanwhile some members of the family show strange behavior, and very soon mayhem breaks loose. Written by
When the movie started, I was pleasantly surprised about some rather nice camera work. This pleasure lasted exactly until one of the actors started to speak.
This movie proves that basic technical skills do not make good directing: Apart from moving the camera in the right way, a director also has to make decisions concerning things that do or don't work. Ittenbach's movie fails miserably in the attempt to get some acting out of the amateur cast.
I sometimes enjoy amateur actors, but here we have a disastrous collision between the lack of acting skills and the inane things the poor people are supposed to say. The plot revolves around some convicts stranded in a forest hut with a family that obviously lived secluded from civilization for some centuries. When these people speak, they use what writers Ittenbach and Thomas Reitmair assume to be an ancient English dialect. This idea may have looked nice on paper, but the result is absolutely hilarious. Because the writers believe that old English simply consists of attaching a "th" to every verb, everybody is phonetically challenged and has to speak very slowly. When the doctor asks the protagonist girl (horrifically played by Ittenbach's wife Martina) whether she has some hot water, her unwieldy reply is "Aye, haveth I". (For the reader: What do you think is the translation of "no" into old English? Right: "Nay, haveth I not".) Almost as funny as this is the grandiose overacting by Dan van Husen, who tries to play the chief convict. If somebody told him that he is not Anthony Hopkins, would he believe it? Inexplicably, Jürgen Prochnow also has a small part, unfortunately a talking role. He's as terrible as in all of his English speaking roles. I thought his career had hit rock bottom when he appeared in "House of the Dead", but it's strange how things can always get worse.
The only thing that Ittenbach is known to do really well is over-the-top splatter and gore effects. The movie is rather tame in this respect, even compared to Ittenbach's work in Uwe Boll's "BloodRayne" (where the two formed an unholy alliance). The effects did a lot to make this the first of Boll's movies that was comparatively bearable. As a director, however, Olaf Ittenbach is a much more terrible than Boll and would deserve an appropriate level of notoriety.
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