Original Title: Sennentuntschi
Director: Michael Steiner
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Language: Swiss German
27.01.2020: This review was first published on 25.05.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
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Directed by Michael Steiner, the Swiss horror film Sennentuntschi: Curse of the Alps, tells the story of a mysterious woman that shows up in a village and is accused of being a work of the devil.
World Cup Historic
The Swiss have an old history of organized football, with its Association founded in 1895, and affiliated to FIFA in 1904. They qualified for eleven World Cups, hosting the 1954 edition, the occasion when they reached the Quarter-finals, like in 1934 and 1938.
In the second round of the UEFA Qualifiers, Switzerland faced Northern Ireland. The Swiss team was the favorite, but they only earned their qualification after the ref awarding them an outrageous penalty.
Like their qualification, their performance in the Cup was not without controversies. They scored a controversial goal against Brazil in the first match, while in the second game, Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated their goals with controversial political symbols.
They qualified in second place in the group, with five points, behind Brazil’s seven points. In the worst match of the round, Switzerland was eliminated by Sweden in the Round of 16.
P.S.: I’m not going deeper about their celebration against Serbia and every other controversy around that match because I think it deserves more than a parenthesis while talking about Football. I hope to have more opportunities to talk about it in the future in more detail.
The story of the film was inspired by an Alpine fable. According to it, a group of farmers made a life-size figure out of rags. The doll was used as a companionship to talk with, eat with, and even to copulate.
When the time for the herdsman to take cattle down the valley arrived, the doll began to talk. She said that the farmers could continue with their cattle business, but she chose one of the men to stay in the hut with her.
The remaining farmers when down the valley with their cattle, and from there, they saw the skin of their fellow, stretched on the roof of their hut, and by its side, the living-doll, laughing. (Source).
In the movie, they had a similar tale. Some lonely farmers used a broom, straw, and some rags to make a doll, Satan took pity on them and gave the doll life, she was called Sennentuntschi. She would clean, cook, make coffee, and copulate, but after the intercourse part, she took revenge on the farmers and killed them all.
In 1975, two events shake a little town. First, a priest commits suicide, and right after, a mysterious young woman (Roxane Mesquida) shows up in his village. The enigmatic surge of the stranger, makes the people accuse her of being a Sennentuntschi.
The remaining priest of the village rallies the people against the woman, so Sebastian Reusch (Nicholas Ofczarek), a policeman, protects the girl as much as he can, and begins to investigate her story.
Parallel to what unfolds in the small town, we also accompany the story of three men living on the top of the mountains surrounding the village. They are Erwin (played by Andrea Zogg), Martin (played by Carlos Leal), and Albert (played by Joel Basman). After a night full of absinthe drinking, this group also supposedly summon a Sennentuntschi.
I am a big fan of investigations, mystery, and things along these lines. Sennentuntschi offers it exceptionally well and with a satisfactory conclusion, without spoon-feeding everything to the viewer.
I loved the direction they went with the plot. The answers to the questions provided by the mystery were given in a way that I found smart and reasonably plausible.
The movie is divided into two sequences of events, one in the town and other in the top of the Alps, as I already mentioned. What I found incredible was how these two histories merge together, but I won’t talk more about to avoid spoilers.
It’s a very intense movie, with harsh content, including some gore. There are rape scenes, even double-penetration rape scenes, bodies in various stages of decomposition, slaughtered animals, and so on. If you’re sensitive to graphic violence, maybe that’s not the film for you.
Sebastian Reusch and the girl believed to be Sennentuntschi are good protagonists. At first, it seems like Reusch will be the typical white knight protecting the damsel in distress, but that was not what happened.
Roxane Mesquida gives an astonishing performance as the near savage woman, using only gestures, grunts/screams, and facial expressions since her character doesn’t talk. She conveys everything she needs through these non-verbal expressions.
Sennentuntschi was made in the 2010s but looks like something older, not just because of the period the movie is set, but it also resembles the old horror films from the 60s and 70s, like Mario Bava’s and Roger Corman’s.
The village reminded me of another movie reviewed on the channel, Madeinusa, both with narrow alleys between the houses in an isolated town. The difference is that Madeinusa is more rural.
The most rural part of Sennentuntschi is up in the Alps, where the three men are taking care of the animals and drinking absinthe. This place is very good looking, providing some gorgeous shots.
The cinematography, in general, is beautiful. The image is always well-framed, the colors are usually desaturated, matching with the tone of the film, and my favorite thing, everything is clear and visible.
The score is okay most of the time. It’s minimalistic, intensifying with the action. There were moments I liked the music a lot, like during a chase in the forest, but, in general, it’s not that special. It works well enough for the movie, though.
There were very few things I didn’t like. The major one, the town’s residents, they were annoying and stupid. Also, the most important revelation of the movie was delivered by an expository monologue.
I know I gave Recollections of the Yellow House 10 Moons, but I reckon I exaggerated a lot, it should be a hard 8 or a 9. That being said, I liked Sennentuntschi more than Recollections of the Yellow House, however, still 9 Moons.