directed by Alex van Warmerdam, 2013
An odd and malevolent spell is cast over complacent suburban life in Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam’s latest. Borgman is a home invasion thriller about a bearded vagrant who takes on the mold of evil incarnate, with plans of invoking pitiless ruin upon a family of five who find themselves embedded in his cross-hairs. With a descriptor like ‘home invasion thriller,’ one might instantly refer to images of forced entry and stock brutality; the subversion and style seen here is the opposite, however, as the film develops slowly with its own signature and literal brand of poison and decay which spill out with mixed results. With its opening upside-down title card which quickly shapes itself into legibility, Borgman almost immediately announces itself as an unforgiving and lopsided affair. An ominous quote reading, “And they descended upon the earth to strengthen their ranks,” precedes a smash cut close-up of a barking dog, both dual signifiers of the calibrated menace sprinkled all throughout the film.