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  Breeder This Woman's Murk
Year: 2020
Director: Jens Dahl
Stars: Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Anders Heinrichsen, Morten Holst, Signe Egholm Olsen, Eeva Putro, Jens Andersen, David Bateson, Bengt C.W. Carlsson, Eja Rhea Mathea Due, Elvira Friis, Peter Khouri, Oksana Kniazeva, Sara Wilgard Sinkjaer, Anne Sofie Steen
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mia Lindberg (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen) is an expert in dressage and hopes to compete in the Olympics to add to her achievements, but all is not well at home. Her husband Thomas (Anders Heinrichsen) is out of sorts and reluctant to make love, despite the fact this is the perfect time for her to be pregnant so they can start their own family, and nothing she does can entice him. Is it problems at work that are preying on his mind? He has something to do with a scientific operation run by Doctor Isabel Ruben (Signe Egholm Olsen) who is pioneering treatments for anti-ageing, or biohacking as it is otherwise known, though so far, her clients have only been the super-rich. But are what troubles Thomas Ruben's practices? How ethical is she, anyway?

The heyday of so-called torture porn was in the early twenty-hundreds when it seemed just about every horror had someone trapped in a cellar while unspeakable violence was visited upon them, yet as a subgenre, it never really went away, with plenty of edgelord filmmakers hoping to make a statement on the human condition delivering low budget variations on precisely that theme. You know the sort of thing, Hostel, The Girl Next Door, Captivity, all material frowned upon from a great height by respectable film fans but lapped up by those who could kid themselves they were watching something transgressive rather than admitting they really got off on staged degradation, often of women. Now, some of these had worth, however limited, but the majority did not.

Which brought us to Breeder, attempting to prolong the audience's torture with nearly two punishing hours of people being simply beastly to each other. This one was supposed to be more acceptable because a woman, Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen, had written the script, and in interviews she and director Jens Dahl offered Pseud's Corner explanations of what they were aiming at, mainly the satisfaction of the oppressed turning the tables. What this did not take into account was that while the kidnapped women here certainly were oppressed, there was no catharsis in their revenge when it was equally as degrading, morally and physically, as anything their captors had unleashed on them. Plus there was the fact that no matter how bad the Nazi doctors had been, there is no entertainment value in watching a film that tries to go one worse than their experiments.

Ruben, you see, has had young ladies kidnapped and trapped in a dungeon - actually a warehouse owned by the reluctant Thomas - which Mia investigates when a local au pair goes missing after an attack and she uses technology to track her down. Thus Mia is captured too, and falls victim to the experiments in creating a cliché mad science youth serum for those old, rich guys: Dahl claimed this was an update of the old story of Bluebeard, but even that was more credible than this parade of, at the very least, very poor medical practices. There followed a very long, very tedious section where the women were, well, tortured, not for any good scientific reason you could discern, but because the filmmakers were enjoying themselves in their sadism, which they justified to themselves thanks to the victims getting their own back in the last act. To be fair, the opening twenty minutes did neatly establish the themes and incidents in the rest of the movie, but that was reaching for anything even slightly accomplished about an example of a style that was hanging around like an unwanted guest at a horror flick convention. Music by Peter Kyed.

[Eureka release this on Blu-ray with the following special features:

Limited Edition O-card Slipcase (First Print Run of 2000 Copies Only) | 1080p presentation on Blu-ray | DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio | Optional English subtitles | Interview with director Jens Dahl and screenwriter Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen | PLUS: A Collector's Booklet featuring a new essay by film historian Kat Ellinger]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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