This Dutch-French co-production tells a story that Edgar Allan Poe, with his fondness for claustrophobic tales set in confined spaces, would have loved. During a vacation, Rex (Gene Bervoets) is looking away for only a moment when his girlfriend Saskia disappears at a gas statiom. (Johanna ter Steege is on screen only fleetingly, but she’s lovely enough to haunt the rest of the film.)
He spends years looking for her, without any luck, until he starts getting letters from her abductor, Raymond (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), a banal, ordinary middle-class guy, who toys with the obsessive Rex and his need to know what ultimately become of the woman. Finally, Rex agrees to let Raymond show him, not tell him, what happened to her. The result is dramatically satisfying and thoroughly disturbing, in a way that will give you nightmares for a week.
Director George Sluizer strings along sequences of everyday events with suspense and tension worthy of Hitchcock, and Donnadieu makes his villain all the more creepy for his mundane normalcy. Warning: Avoid the American remake, which, even though it’s also directed by Sluizer, is a horrible betrayal of his original, right down to its softened ending.
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