After 4 years, a young man is deemed fit to be released from prison for attempting to kill his mother. Too bad that he lead the psychologist to believe he was sane, when all he wants is to get out and start killing.
The one thing that I love about underground cinema is being able to come across a movie that is phenomenal. "Angst" is a movie that is working on achieving a cult status and rightfully so, as it is an absolutely amazing film on all points. Not only does it contain one of better on screen representations of a serial killer, without idolizing them like you see with most Hollywood movies. It also has some of the most breathe taking cinematography that I've seen in a good while.
"Angst" takes a unique approach to all aspects of how it is made, even with the characters. No one is given a name, as it keeps the amount of characters to a bare minimum of only who is necessary to the story. So the male lead, the killer, is never given a name and in the credits is only listed as, "the psycho-path." He is about to be released from prison after 4 years from attempting to kill his mother, and the only thing he has on his mind is being able to find sexual fulfillment and joy from striking fear into a person and killing them. After a failed attempt, his target becomes a house set off from the main road to allow privacy while he plots to kill an elderly woman and her two adult children.
This is where the movie really sets itself above, most other movies dealing with serial killers. For one thing, it deals with the much debated idea, but hardly ever covered in movies, of the acts performed by these killers as a way of reaching sexual gratification. To the point that the killer in the movie actually has an orgasm from moving a body around, while planning on using the corpse to frighten his next victims. The tremendous amount of inner dialogue of him describing how nothing brings him greater joy than knowing and seeing the fear from his victims, the fear of death. Which not only creates a truly frightening scenario, but a very believable one as well. The attention given to the writing for the characters' dialogue, is quite obvious to the point that I'd say the writers must have actually spent time studying serial killers and how their minds work. There is almost little to no dialogue in the movie, it is mostly composed of the killer talking to himself in his head. Going over his history (which almost syncs up with what is going on in present time) and planning out how he wants these murders to play out, how each one will die and how the current surviving members get to watch. All for the soul purpose of maximizing the pleasure that he is getting out of killing this family.
So far the movie has already raised the bar pretty high with the story and the actions by our main character. With the cinematography, the bar is raised even higher as "Angst" contains some of the most jaw-dropping beautiful camera work for such a movie. It almost has a free-floating sense, as the camera very rarely remains static for any one shot. When the killer is running around the property, we get to watch from almost birds-eye view as the camera remains on top of the scenes following the man, where ever he goes. I'm not sure what the technical term is called for the setup, but with the scenes that contain lots of movement with running or being attacked. The camera is attached to which ever character we are currently suppose to be focused on, which really just draws the audience in as if we are apart of the scene. It creates the sensation that we are following right behind the person as they are running, that we are the ones having to fight for our lives from a psychotic killer. It is what the modern day "shaky-cam" style used in movies wants to create, but ultimately fails at every time. Here, the camera work was not only pulled off extremely well, but does a fantastic job of pulling the audience into the mayhem.
To go with the great story, characters and camera work the movie is given a very haunting soundtrack that only adds to the sense of dread that is building with each passing scene. I could go on and on of all the ways this movie works and is one of the best movies depicting a serial killer, since I was completely blown away by this movie. It is a harsh movie, one that doesn't use a shock or a gross-out factor in attempt to make the viewer feel uneasy, instead it uses reality to create the believability factor and draws out the scenes instead of cutting away. So for those of you who have short attention spans or couldn't handle the style of "Funny Games" then "Angst" probably isn't for you. For the rest of us who enjoyed movies like "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" or "Schramm" then this is a movie you need to see.
A bit of trivia, while the DVD release is a colored version of the film. There is an obscure black and white version floating around out there, that really only seems to be available by bootleg.