Directed by Dick Maas [Other horror films: De lift (1983), The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Masks of Evil (1999), Down (2001), Sint (2010), Prooi (2016)]
Hailing from the Netherlands, Amsterdamned is a pretty impressive and unique addition to the slasher genre. While the story can occasionally feel plodding (due more to it’s run-time than anything else), there’s a lot in this Dutch movie to enjoy.
A big part for me would be the setting, taking place in, you guessed it, Amsterdam. Now, I will admit that I know very little about the Netherlands, and related, Amsterdam, but I do know that what with all of the canals and unique city design, it definitely stands out, and focusing strongly on that with a serial killer in a diving suit finding victims on the canals – it’s just a great idea, and leads to some very memorable sequences.
Of course, Dick Maas, the director, isn’t new to great ideas – he’s also the one who directed the 1983 classic De lift (The Lift), which is a movie I’ve only seen once, but it stood up just as strongly as this film did. With some fantastic sequences (the speedboat chase scene, for instance, or the underwater struggle one character had with the killer) and great suspense, Maas knew what he was doing when he made this.
As far as downsides go, the fact that this is an hour and 54 minutes is a bit grueling. A lot of it can go pretty quickly, but there are times when things feel a bit bogged down, and while there’s not a lot that seems filler, I can’t say the almost two-hour runtime didn’t hurt. Related – though luckily, not the fault of the film – the copy I saw was dubbed, and I don’t particularly care for dubbed films. That won’t impact my rating, but next time I seek this out, I’ll aim for a subtitled copy, if such exists.
Most of the central performances here were good. I enjoyed Huub Stapel and Wim Zomer’s relationship, and I sort of wish Zomer’s character stuck around longer. Serge-Henri Valcke’s character was great (and quite amusing – when he falls off the speedboat right at the beginning of the chase sequence, that’s what I call good fun), and while Hidde Maas’ character could have been fleshed out a bit more, I still thought he did well. Monique van de Ven did well as the love interest, and she did get some licks in at the end, but for most of the film, out of everyone, she may have been the most lukewarm.
Gore isn’t that important a part to the movie near as much as suspense was, but we do see some decapitation, solid stabbings, and a slit throat. Oh, and that opening, what with the body dragging across the top of a tour boat, was ace. The suspense alone is great, though, and it’s helped that the diving suit the killer wears looks, as the kids say, hella beast. It’s a great design and idea for a killer, and I think they pulled it off well here.
I don’t think Amsterdamned would appeal to everyone, but it’s a nice mix of slashers and crime movies, with a beautifully unique setting. The finale might feel a bit on the generic side, but it’s still a movie I enjoyed both times I saw it, and I’d definitely recommend giving this one a look if you want something a bit different.
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