Movie Review - Borgman

Jeroen Perceval as Richard who realizes he's
marked for trouble in "Borgman"
This is a horror film. It's like something out of Grimm's Fairy Tales, except there is no moral or lesson. Writer-director Alex van Warmerdam seems to want to eviscerate or excoriate the northern European, white, middle to upper-middle class, suburban life. If it's humorous, which it isn't, it's on the level of Man Bites Dog (1992), but even dryer, not comical. The whole thing is ridiculous but quietly brutal and vicious. There's no compassion nor empathy here. It revels in death and destruction, and it would have been a very interesting, psychological thriller where a stranger enters and stays at a home and winds up destroying the family from within or turning people against each other, not in the outright, over-the-top fashion as Funny Games (1997), but in the vein of other home invasion films like Straw Dogs (1971), The Stepfather (1987), Pacific Heights (1990), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) and Orphan (2009).

The problem is that while Warmerdam presents this tale in the same stark reality as European films, such as Dogtooth (2010) and Michael (2012), he injects magical or possible supernatural elements as in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Warmerdam makes his titular character, Camiel Borgman, played by Jan Bijvoet, able to cast spells or invade not only people's homes but also people's brains or at least influence people's dreams, which lessens his overall impact.

Marina is manipulated using her guilt and shame being a white, well-off woman. Yet, it's still a jump for her to be seduced, especially since, her husband is Richard, played by Jeroen Perceval (Bullhead), a very sexy guy here. Warmerdam makes her so stupid though, as to make her so susceptible to Camiel's magic. She thinks her dreams are reality. Her dreams depict her husband in the worse light and she doesn't question it.

However, Warmerdam makes everyone other than Camiel and his crew stupid. Yes, Camiel has a crew. With no explanation, he has a gang of four other people, two guys, one who's older named Ludwig and one younger named Pascal, as well as two women, one older named Brenda and one younger named Ilonka. Warmerdam plays Ludwig by the way, but Camiel's gang performs various functions that aid in senseless murders and their cover-ups. They're the only smart ones. Everyone else is stupid and fooled with no resistance or hesitance, and that's what makes the movie dull. There is no pushback.

The one and only time there's pushback is at the beginning. The opening scene has three men seemingly on the hunt for Camiel and his crew. These people after this opening scene are never seen or heard again. The event becomes inconsequential and quickly forgotten. Like with everything else that follows, it becomes just another weird and heartless moment.

One Star out of Five.
Not Rated but contains nudity, language and violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 53 mins.


  1. waste of time, stupid movie, some critics try to make it sound very smart and philosophical but the fact there so no explanation at all about nothing is only stupid. anyone can think of stuff like this, but answering the why and for what is the tough part


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