Horror fans who prefer their cinema tense and chilling without relying on an abundance of gore and jump scares should mark their calendars for May 9, when Dutch thriller Borgman begins its limited release across North America. The macabre chiller opened in competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and stunned audiences with its surreal visuals and eerie tone. After a prolonged festival run, including stops in Toronto, London and Chicago, it is now one of the summer’s most awaited thrillers.
Borgman stars Belgian actor Jan Bijvoet as the bearded, titular forest-dweller who enters the lives of an upper middle-class family and ends up haunting their quaint, domestic lifestyle. The trailer for the Dutch film is now online and it is both chilling and perplexing, giving off an eerie tone with spurts of harsh violence that make it look even more sinister.
Borgman has been compared to films from Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Michael Haneke, although the off-putting tone of the footage here is also reminiscent of the Greek comedy Dogtooth, which earned an Oscar nomination for Foreign Language Film in 2010. Moments from the trailer also recall the bleakly funny Israeli film Big Bad Wolves, which came out earlier this year
Although Borgman will have a hard time finding a large audience, the buzz it has received from a year’s worth of festival screenings could turn Alex van Warmerdam’s film into a cult sensation. As trailers go, it is likely that few this year will be as striking and surprising as this one. Filled with both dreamy and nightmarish visuals, an uneasy editing style and somber silence, it is marketed to the art-house crowd who may be enticed to check out something more abstractly scary.
Borgman will screen at the San Francisco International Film Festival on April 30, before its limited release on May 9.