Moloch – Fantasia ’22 Review

Betriek (Sallie Harmsen, BLADE RUNNER 2049) lives in an isolated house in the middle of a quiet Dutch peat bog, with her six-year-old daughter and her parents. But local archeologists are digging in the area, and they uncover the remains of a women, possibly a historic murder victim. One by one, dig workers start hearing voices, voices that take them over and drive them insane – and make them very keen indeed to break into Betriek’s peaceful cottage. Can she work out what they want from her, before her family is destroyed?

With Moloch, Dutch filmmaker Nico van den Brink moves from shorts to features with a film steeped in local character and slow-burn dread. The uncovered corpse’s transformative effect on the local populus reveals the menace just below the surface of this nice, friendly Dutch community. That, combined with nice touches such an ominously plotted children’s play at the local school, bring to mind folk horrors such as The Wicker Man and Blood On Satan’s Claw. The mystery plot runs a little slowly (albeit with the occasional nice jump scare), but once we get to the third act the sense of menace is absolutely gripping – and the final scenes are delightfully disturbing.

Van den Brink puts a touch of the netherworld in the Netherlands and makes a compelling case for paying attention to modern Dutch horror – after all, it may be one of the low countries, but there’s nowhere lower than HELL.

Moloch played at the Fantasia International Film Festival on 17 July, and is streaming now on Shudder in applicable countries!


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