- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Der Samurai

Also known as:

Year: 2014

Genre: Horror / Thriller / Fantasy

Language: German

Runtime: 79 min

Director: Till Kleinert

Writer: Till Kleinert


A wolf is bothering the locals of a small German village. Jakob is a young police officer who feeds the wolf so that it will leave them alone. One day Jakob receives a strange package that was sent to the station. He's about to find out who the package is for, and what's in the package, and it's the start of an unbelievably violent night.

Our thoughts:
Germany has spawned some remarkable horror movies through the years, but unfortunately the talent was traded in for splatter at one point. Don't get me wrong, some of the big titles in German splatter (or German underground overall) are still fantastic in both their unique ideas and for the pure entertainment you get out of them. But now I don't think that there is much left for the German splatter subgenre to explore and even names like Olaf Ittenbach have been put on the list of bland filmmakers. In comes "Der Samurai", a movie which seems to keep the raw nature of the underground intact, but with artistic sensibilities and a fresh psychological spin on it that I feel has been missing.

"Der Samurai" is about Jakob, a young police officer in an ideal small town. The biggest problems in town are youngsters drinking at night, and a wolf that annoys the people of the town. Jakob does what he can about the wolf by bringing meat for it to eat in hope that it will stay away. It used to be a quiet town, until one day a strange package arrives at the police station. Jakob brings the package home to his grandmother, where he lives, and gets a call by the owner of it later that night. He decides to deliver the package to the person on the phone - but it doesn't take long for him to realize that something's wrong. He arrives at a house where a troubled man in a dress is waiting, and he opens the package in front of Jakob. It's a katana, a samurai sword. The man in a dress escapes and sets out to kill everyone in town, and Jakob is right on his heels.

"Der Samurai" is an entertaining and very captivating movie because you really have no idea what to expect from it. There's a mystery around most things - such as the loneliness of the police officer, the meaning of the wolf, the bizarre serial killer and his katana. Despite rarely giving us answers, the movie keeps the mystery fun as it is delivered on rails. One odd thing after another is thrown at us and eventually we feel a strange connection between the cop and the killer, and that's the real center of the movie. It developes into a personal and psychological mystery that we feel compelled to follow through.

Michel Diercks delivers an excellent performance as the confused but motivated young cop. His strengths as an actor is one of the biggest draws for me, and especially his on-screen connection with Pit Bukowski as the samurai. The two of them together creates some excellent tension.

It's a powerhouse of a movie, despite delivering very little in terms of gore. The movie doesn't need the gore and I think adding more of it would have ruined what makes it so successful as a psychological horror/slasher mashup. "Der Samurai" is a unique homo-erotic psychological horror that proves that Germany has more to offer even to this day. This movie is worthy of owning. Last Exit Entertainment put this out in Sweden and they're quickly becoming a distributor to take notice of, with titles like "Nails" and "A Capital dos Mortos" under their belt.

Positive things:
- Great performances.
- Intriguing mystery.
- A rather unique psychological ride.

Negative things:
- While it is very much a serious movie, a few things didn't quite work and ended up feeling more comedic than the tone. This wasn't a big issue though.

Gore: 2/5
Nudity: 1.5/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 1/5

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