All the way from Austria comes Peter Koller’s ON EVIL GROUNDS (Auf Bösem Boden), which made it’s premiere at the FanTasia Film Festival this past week.
The film follows Romeo and Juliet – a couple that has a very odd perception of their relationship. They decide to buy a loft situated in a run-down factory. Someone already lives there. The deranged owner of the factory, and his buddy, the real-estate agent, have been living an exciting life of capturing and torturing young and innocent couples. Too bad Romeo and Juliet are everything but docile victims!
Koller did what any good indie director does, keeps his spending down in various ways in order to ensure a higher quality affair. The locations, cast and FX work are minimal, which leaves plenty of room for quality filmwork and actors. The cinematography was extremely well done, which gave the film a theater quality look. Koller’s directing style added a much-needed ‘voice’ to the film that helped get me through the slow points.
The idea is simple and pretty well executed. Everyone is f-cking nuts, plain and simple. Koller told us in an interview that the film is pretty much a real life Tex Avery cartoon, Tom & Jerry with gore. The film does in fact have its silly moments, along with it’s serious ones, but in the end I still found the entire experience to be less than exhilarating. GROUNDS needed a little more blood and a little more humor; it felt as if it was missing that pinnacle moment – that one “holy sh-t” moment.
Although Koller’s film doesn’t leave a lasting impression, it does achieve most of it’s goals and has also given us a pretty damn good sample of the quality filmmaking Koller is capable of. I look forward to seeing what he does next, my only advice to him for next time would be to hit it with everything he’s got and not to pull back, there’s a lack of intensity that pulled this film from being something exquisite.