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Review Moloch 2022: Not bad!

genre: horror, drama

The Netherlands is not really adequate when it comes to genre films. But from time to time, there are some that do stand out from the rubbish usually produced. While still heavily flawed, I do think Moloch is one of the better horror films since ages.

Mind you, don't expect too much from it. It's not exactly a crowd pleaser. For the most part, it's immensely subtle and takes it's time to build up to the climax. I get what they were going for. And I do appreciate that over a jump scare every two seconds. Still, I think there was room left to have more tension and dread. A lot more. But, the lack of is compensated by the excellent acting. Even the child actors were good. That is saying something because I am not a fan.

The actors sell the tale that is spun. That tale btw is fabricated and not a real story. This surprised me a little because I am sure there are more than enough scary folk tales that could have been used or lifted. I myself know of one that I had experienced on camp back when I was a little Chrichton. A story about the "witte wieven", literally translated, white women or white witches. They told us the story while hiking through the forest very late at night, we couldn't see much, naturally we were on edge. But nothing prepared me for what we were exposed to next. We had arrived at a spot where the forest opened up, and we saw the white witches dancing around the fire. Our guide told us to be quiet and whisper to avoid being detected. He had to say it and yes, the second he said that, they turned around and saw us. Naturally, everybody panicked, and the witches started chasing us. One of the most fun experiences I had has a child. I remember it because the whole experience was incredibly memorable. They did such a good job of telling the creepy and scary story, I never forgot about it. 

They could and should have done this with Moloch. But since there is no real foundation for the spooky tale, it kinda remains this generic story you tell as an anecdote without giving it too much thought. Don't get me wrong, there are one or two scenes that at least try to increase the terror. Only it comes a little too late and there are too many distractions that stand in the way. In hindsight, it makes sense. The relationship between Jonas (played by a low budget version of Michael Fassbender, Alexandre Willaume) and Bertriek serves a purpose. And their dynamics are a vital part of the story. Still, they should have intensified their interactions. It's a little on the tame side. And they aren't showing enough contrast of how she is with other men. Really could have made the difference.

So yes, while there is just enough there to be entertained, I do think this had potential to be more. There is room for a sequel, although I doubt that will be made. But if they do, I hope that writer / director Nico van den Brink will ramp up the dread and terror because ultimately that is why we watch horror films in the first place.

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