Friday, 2 February 2018

Strangled (2016)

Good, grim, unsensational Hungarian psycho-thriller

After the entertaining KILLS ON WHEELS, Eureka strike again with another well-made, throughly engrossing piece of Hungarian cinema, this one with a decidedly grimmer theme.

Hungary - the mid 1960s. In the small provincial town of Martfu a serial killer is at large, raping, strangling and mutilating young women. The modus operandi seems to be the same as a similar case a few years previously, where the killer was apprehended amidst a media frenzy and sentenced to life imprisonment. Is this a copycat? Or was the wrong man convicted in the first place?

Based on true events, director Arpad Sopsits' film is frequently stylish without ever being sensationalist. The crimes are portrayed brutally, and the police procedural aspects documented dispassionately. Stripped right down, the plot could easily have been the basis for one of the typical flamboyant Italian examples of giallo cinema in the 1970s. If it had been made in England at that time, it would probably have been so sleazy and grim as to have been pretty much unwatchable.

Thankfully, STRANGLED is 21st century and Hungarian, and takes its subject matter seriously while never overdoing the grimness when it isn't necessary. The press release mentions Fritz Lang's M (1931) (couldn't really see that myself) and David Fincher's ZODIAC (now actually that's more like it) and certainly if you're a fan of Fincher's 'docudrama' then STRANGLED may be just the thing for you. 

Extras are pretty much non-existent but don't let that put you off. Eureka are doing valuable work here making some fine examples of modern overseas cinema available to UK audiences and STRANGLED makes another impressive addition to their library of titles. 

Arpad Sopsits' STRANGLED is out on dual format Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 5th February 2018 

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