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11:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 5, Lon Chaney Theatre (screens with Horror Shorts)

With the exception of maybe Serbians, no one makes bleaker and more depressing horror flicks than the Germans. From Nosferatu and Nekromantic to Vampyr and Violent Shit (yes, it's a real movie), they are the masters of Teutonic terror, served with studious style and a disciplined eye for death. It's truly an art form they have perfected, and one in which Angustia, by Sebastian Harrer, is proud to revel.

With an opening that evokes all the classic horror tropes (dark and stormy night, creepy motel, mysterious travelers), it's easy to immediately believe that you can see where all this is going. The mysterious traveler checks into a seedy room with a young, bespectacled hitchhiker in tow. As the hitchhiker gets comfortable, the traveler spouts off ominous lines about his fear of sleeping near a door. I'm pretty sure the audience at this point is sure that the traveler is a mad roadside butcher and the drifter his next victim.

But Harrer doesn't play us out like that. He lets the tenseness of the situation linger, with every single moment, every single conversation, every single action. By the time the twist ending does occur, it's practically a relief because, finally, you can breathe again.

Playing completely on the clichés that horror audiences have come to know and expect, Angustia is a real gem. Of course, that gem is buried deep inside someone's guts, but it's totally worth the time to dig it out.

Independent Film Festival

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