Veronika Franz, the journalist and wife of Austrian film-maker Ulrich Seidl, makes her debut, co-directing with Severin Fiala for this chilly, angular, ultra-violent arthouse horror showing in the Venice film festival’s Orrizonti sidebar. Seidl himself produces, and the result is a technically proficient and at times unwatchably horrible ordeal set in an elegant modern lake-house bordering sinister forests and fields. It’s all topped off with a huge psychological twist, and this ending would appear to be influenced by a very specific director and very specific film. Naming these would be unsporting, but it is generally comparable to Haneke’s Funny Games and Jessica Hausner’s Hotel.
Elias is a nine-year-old boy who appears to be enjoying an idyllic summer