The Breeder (2011) DVD Review

Dir. Till Hastreiter         95 mins
High Fliers
UK Release: 21st October 2013

The real positive to emerge from The Breeder is that I got to learn about the Caucasus mountains – not from the film obviously, but from Google as I pleaded with this tortuous horror movie to end.

We start with some slo-mo camera work as we shift ponderously through what appears to be an underground tunnel system, with interspersed shots of torture themed equipment. All the while we hear a laboured distorted voiceover which talks of ‘cleansing oneself’. This pre-credits sequence lays the foundation for the destination of the film, but prior to all that we can at least enjoy the impressive vistas of this lush mountain system as we’re informed via an onscreen caption of the number of American tourists that go missing each year.

Amy (Theresa Joy) and Sophie (Julie LeGal) are the latest to endure this tribulation in a foreign clime and we pick up with them as they hike through the gorgeous Georgian landscape. The two leads do the best with the material they’re given, but with the shoehorned lesbian sequence (because they’re bored) and Sophie’s unwarranted naked skinny dipping, the actresses have their work cut out.

BREEDER-002As Amy ventures into the nearby village to ask directions – “why doesn’t anybody speak English in this fucking country?”, Sophie is left to dry out on the outskirts of some woods. Disaster soon strikes though in the most unintentionally comedic way possible as Sophie is abducted in a manner which really has to be seen to be believed. Amy, who is naturally worried about the disappearance of her friend, manages to get acquainted with an English speaking local and they head into the village to see if they can find her.

The villagers are suspicious of Amy as she wanders around the village asking questions and in the end tell her to go – although not before we’ve had to witness the butchering of a goat. This scenes role in the storyline is seemingly unexplained, but I presume it’s to highlight the barbaric backward nature of this culture who presumably all sit around drinking homemade brew and discussing whether the world is still flat.

Dividing its time between the plight of kidnapped Sophie and the frantic search by her friend Amy, the film plays out as you’d very much expect. It’s a woeful motion picture that has very few redeeming features about it at all. With its xenophobic outlook of “this is what people in other countries are like”, it’s a surprise that this is a German / Swiss production with a German director.

BREEDER-003Placing its moronic portrayal of Georgia aside though, it’s still a very poorly constructed film. We’re told very little of who these girls are or why they’re hiking here, scenes of tension don’t work and often become laughable, while the developments in the storyline at times seem both implausible and ridiculous. With its stunning location you’d hope that something iconic could be made in this situation, but instead it’s a memorable film for all the wrong reasons.

2 out of 10

•        None

Just a brief addendum – I watched this on a screener sent out by the film company High Fliers. It was without doubt the worst screener I’ve seen in 20 years with the wrong aspect ratio and a picture quality that puts VHS tapes to shame. It’s a shame, not for the film – I’m pretty sure it would be trash regardless, but for the film company High Fliers. They’ve been established for many years and have remained resolutely independent, but now it seems the credit crunch is even getting to them. From releasing movies like the Oscar winning Monster with Charlize Theron to great genre pictures like The Girl Next Door, Stuck, Unrest, Shadow: Dead Riot and Ted Bundy they’ve been a bastion of home entertainment. They were a company that would release between five and seven releases a month, but now they only have four until the end of the year – three low budget family Christmas films and a Vin Diesel flick from 2006. I hope they’ll be ok, but it just underlines the tough trading conditions that all our friends in the industry are up against.

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