Breeder Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Eureka Entertainment
Directed by Jens Dahl
Written by Sissal Daslgaard Thomsen
2020, 107 minutes, Not Yet Rated
FrightFest UK Premiere on 23rd October 2020
Sara Hjort Ditlevsen as Mia Lindberg
Anders Heinrichsen as Thomas Lindberg
Morten Holst as The Dog
Signe Egholm Olsen as Dr. Isabel Ruben
With a title like 'Breeder' one should know roughly what to expect. Thankfully, this isn't quite that. Or is it? What sounds like a misogynistic backwoods torture flick turns out to be... a commentary on genetic engineering and bio-hacking. So... a misogynistic corporate torture basement instead?
Jens Dahl's gruesome work of body horror is unpleasant, but it's more Martyrs unpleasant than I Spit on Your Grave unpleasant. Mia (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen) and her husband Thomas (Anders Heinrichsen) are thrown headfirst into a terrifying conspiracy when she uncovers a shady businesswoman's secret to reversing the ageing process – bio-hacking. Which is an impersonal term for the torture and mutilation of young women. Which, itself, still undersells the nastiness of a movie in which a woman is tied up, branded like cattle, then literally pissed on by her captor. Sure, the misogyny of its villains is the point, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch.
Breeder is a film of two halves – part corporate thriller, part torture film. Coming some ten years after the Hostel and Saw boom hit its peak, it feels outdated but authentic. This is an aesthetic and level of cruelty that has been largely absent from horror cinema for a while now. Whether or not it has been missed is debatable, but Breeder does its thing just as well as the classics of the subgenre.
At the same time, Dahl and screenwriter Sissal Daslgaard Thomsen showcase modern sensibilities in the storytelling. The nuanced screenplay provides no easy answers, but avoids exploitation or sensationalisation, Unlike its peers, the film shows a keen sense of self-awareness, calling lead torturer The Dog (a chilling Morten Holst) out for his misogyny, while highlighting the hypocrisy of his overlords. At a time when humanity barely even tries to hide its craven greed and cruelty, Breeder feels terrifyingly plausible, its villains horribly relevant. The big conspiracy veers uncomfortably close to QAnon bullshit at times, but it makes for disturbing horror movie fodder.
With a title like 'Breeder' one should know roughly what to expect.This isn't that, but it kind of is at the same time.
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