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11 April 2012

Haxan (1922) [Silent Film-a-Thon 2] 7#


Directed by:Benjamin Christensen
Genre: Horror, Documentary
Denmark
Black and White, 87 Minutes
This is a difficult film to watch and care about, but for patient viewers, you will find this is a strangely paced and produced documentary on witchcraft. In a time when the documentary genre was practically not even a genre at all, we see fictional dramatisations of stories that is read by the films narrator- that being the title cards. Even for today’s audiences, I am sure some clips will be quite haunting and creepy as we see many manifestations of the devil himself.




The strange thing about this documentary is how things are shown. Rather than having shots of real things happening at the time of filming, we see dramatisations, diagrams and images on witchcraft and the many curious (and quite spooky) things about it.


One thing you can be sure of is the film having an eerie and haunting atmosphere. Although nothing that happens is convincing (let’s face it, we know witchcraft is all a hoax), the stories are creepy.


The film has quite an interesting narrative structure as it combines two different perspectives of the witchcraft: the fictional side and documentary side. I preferred the fictional side as we saw the portrayals of witchcraft. Many find this as one of the best islent films, but for me it lacked being interesting. At times, the film drags you on showing you the various clips that are just simply not entertaining.


The image quality does not have much clarity and it is oftne hard to see what is going on. Figures appear like silhouettes due to lighting at times. With the low-key lighting and  no dialogue, everything adds up to the dramatisations of witchcraft and whatnot remain very unnerving and eerie. Just by looking at the criterion, collection poster is creepy. I heard about the film from the 1001 must see movies book, and the quite creepy image shown got me curious.


Verdict: There are some parts that leave you bored and wondering where you are, but the film’s creepy presence and dramatisations of the devil and witches makes it a fascinatingly chilling experience.


Rating: 7/10

IMDB Rating: 7.7.10


At IMDB

3 comments:

  1. Do you know of any other documentaries that act out what people are saying? That's pretty interesting. I don't mean crap like Unsolved Mysteries or something. Actual documentaries.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds kind of cool. Excellent review as always Thomas!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't but I will research on silent documentaries further. It is strange to see them.

    ReplyDelete

 

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