Review: Visionary German Short Film HADES



SHOCK raves about indie German short film HADES.

So few indie filmmakers toiling in fright take any real chances with their art these days. It’s all about easily marketed recognizable product being pumped out by people with either very little imagination or a terror of truly pursuing the fevers that sit nestled within their psyches.

The Europeans have long surrendered to the Freudian ID, letting style and movement and sound take center stage in their work and in doing so, their work affected and progressed the genre greatly. But with Martino in retirement, Argento losing the plot and Fulci long dead…who is left to explore the sensuality of shock?

Recently, we raved about a new Turkish film directed by Can Evrenol called BASKIN. There is a film that goes deep into the recesses of the mind and body to sculpt a living, breathing, stylized nightmare; a literal and figurative descent into Hell that is both challenging, upsetting and unforgettable. Evrenol is one to watch.

And now we can add Austrian filmmaker Kevin Kopacka to the list of audacious indies who put creativity first before convention. Kopacka’s new short horror film HADES is a dialogue free immersion into style and imagination that packs more into its lean 15 minutes than most features ever dare do.

Written, directed, scored, produced and edited by Kopacka, HADES stars Anna Heideggar as a young woman in love and yet trapped in some sort of color-saturated dream state of which she cannot awaken. The film is divided into sections that represent the five rivers of Hades, but are really bed sheet draped corridors and rooms of a labyrinthine apartment complex, lit like something out of SUSPIRIA (credit the art direction and lighting by Lukas Dolgner) and heaving with a palpable, somnambulist dread.


Indeed it’s been some time since I’ve seen a film capture the hazy, uncanny feeling of the dream-state, where the natural world we are used to becomes obscured and threatening. Kopacka illustrates Heideggar’s journey through Hell not with blood, gore, explicit sex or any sort of rubber monster, but with a particular attention to sound design, music and jittery atmosphere. Shot on HD and Super 8, the film has been battered to look and feel like some sort of lost 8mm stage loop and it adds to the otherworldliness.

Those looking for a short film with laughs or any sort of narrative thrust or closure best look elsewhere. But those horror fans looking for something brave and sensual, where the art of cinema is treated as the moving painting it was always meant to be, would be wise to track down HADES at one of its multiple international festival screenings.

You can check out the trailer below.

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Weekend: Feb. 21, 2019, Feb. 24, 2019

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