Jake Sulpice



Watched on

Albrun sits on a grassy hill.

It is disgusting how all of you stink. Your rotten stench.

Calling Hagazussa a slow burn would be an understatement. The deliberately drawn-out sequences and the nearly absent dialogue make this unsettlingly stagnant German folk horror surprisingly mesmerizing, keeping your attention throughout yet ending somewhat anticlimactic.

Against the bleak backdrop of the Austrian Alps, the film follows the life of Alburn, a young girl whose mother begins a descent into madness shortly after a visit from the Perchta seeking to rid the area of witches. Fifteen years later, Alburn and her young baby live in the same cottage as her youth, being treated as a pariah by the townspeople due to their superstitions surrounding her family. As time progresses, Alburn follows in her mother’s footsteps, delving deeper into the sacrilegious rituals of her past.

The entire film is a beautiful cinematic ride, enveloping you in a distinct atmosphere of isolation and dread. The long, tracking shots and unsettling close-ups add to the mounting tension, as does the sinister vibe of the fog-covered village. The hallucinatory and surreal imagery serves as a perfect canvas for the film to dive into the psychedelic aspect of Alburn’s journey, particularly during her encounter with mushrooms and herbs. The ominous sound design is the cherry on top.

Fire on the hillside facing the mountains.

Hagazussa, with its measured pace, draws parallels between witch hunts of the past and modern anxieties regarding sexual deviancy. Director Lukas Feigelfeld creates a narrative that forces you to examine the divide between reality and the supernatural, leaving the viewer disoriented and uncertain of what is yet to come. Alburn’s gradual descent into derangement feels like a spellbinding nightmare, and the final sequence leaves you disturbed and unsettled.

Honestly, some scenes went over my head before reading a detailed explanation afterward. The Perchta, the rape on the hillside, and the rat in the stream all confused me a bit, but I appreciate and understand the storyline much more now. Hagazussa is solidly intriguing but not exactly groundbreaking or something I would like to watch again.

Albrun with a bloody nose.