Having established a cornerstone of horror through what is commonly termed as nordic noir, it’s about time that another European country should stake a claim with that dark, folk storytelling. So, the Dutch step forward with something lurking in the peat bogs in the north of the Netherlands.
The entity in question seems to be honing in on Betriek (Sallie Harmsen) and her family, or those that she comes in contact with, suggesting that there is more than meets the eye to this mysterious presence that up til now has lain dormant. The last time it arose was when Betriek was a little girl as presented in our prologue sequence when something is heard above the room that she is playing in, only to then see blood seeping through the cracks aloft.
It also seems that an archaeological dig has unearthed the being known as the titular Moloch, and now anyone that stands in her path will succumb to torment.
Admittedly this film is a bit of a slow burner, but director Nico van den Brink (Sweet Tooth) is able to craft enough intrigue and mystery to the tale, fuelled with some great performances, well structured characters that you actually care for, and the added mark of something that feels like an age-old story.
The narrative ducks and weaves like a crime thriller, with our lead protagonist denying yet puled into this mystery that plagues her family. Just how far she is willing to dig, will determine their fate.
Too often, when European folk horror is presented with a slow burn, the content dries up and becomes pale. Moloch though is a cleverly crafted tale with strong characters and enough twists to keep you on tenterhooks. A surprising and comforting darkly Gothic story presented from a welcome new source.
- Saul Muerte
Moloch will be streaming on Shudder ANZ from Jul 21st.