Midwest director John Borowski is back in a big way, this time with a feature-length documentary on the historical killer Albert Fish. With his directorial debut H. H. Holmes, which we raved about here, Borowski mastered the art of telling a horrific story in a G-rated fashion. With ALBERT FISH we get the same style of story-telling, only longer and even more entertaining!
ALBERT FISH is the horrific true story of elderly cannibal, sadomasochist, and serial killer, who lured children to their deaths in Depression-era New York City. Distorting biblical tales, ALBERT FISH takes the themes of pain, torture, atonement and suffering literally as he preys on victims to torture and sacrifice.
The story of Fish is told through various re-enactments, talking heads and various other typical documentary tools. What I loved about FISH is that Borowski turns the re-enactments black and white so they feel like a period piece, or maybe even actual footage caught on film. His techniques add a certain uneasiness that you should be feeling while watching the tale of one of the sickest human being to have ever walked the Earth. The actors are believable, which makes sure you feel like you’re right there, watching as the terror unfolds.
The talking heads are used well as they thread us throughout this insane story without taking over the screen. SO often doc directors will stick numerous people in front of the camera and just have them tell their opinions and ideas for the entire film, while Borowski uses only pieces that supplement his re-enactments. He also does a fantastic job of giving visual cues instead of just showing the people talking, which makes for a much more entertaining viewing experience.
Narrator Tony Jay and the score by Corey Jackson added the final pieces of magic to the complex piece of work. Jay, who is one of the most infamous voice actors, is the PERFECT choice to send a chill down viewer’s spines.
Although ALBERT FISH is a very tame film, it’s tension is created by Borowski’s unique assembly and style. If you’re looking for a bloody, disgusting, Hostel-styled horror film, don’t look here… that’s not what this is about. FISH is a film that will be remembered years after the “torture” genre has faded.