There are horror films that make you scream, horror films that make you jump, horror films that make you laugh, horror films that make you wince and horror films that make you sick to your stomach. Then there are horror films that just creep you out. These films leave you with a feeling of uneasiness and a palpable sense of dread. They are the type of films you end up thinking about long after you’ve seen them and ignite those same creepy feelings all over again. Borgman is one such film. This Danish film by director Alex Van Warmerdam creeps you out from the beginning and doesn’t let go – even after the end.
The film opens with a group of town leaders gathering knives, guns, and pitch forks to go after something or someone that has obviously disturbed them greatly. Turns out it’s the title-character, who along with several henchman /women, have taken to living in underground compartments. Flushed from their lairs by the inflamed citizenry, they scatter and Borgman (Jan Bijvoet) ends up knocking on the door of a somewhat affluent suburban family. He asks to take a bath. Refused entry to the home and beaten up by the owner (Jeroen Perceval) after Borgman insinuates he knows his wife (Hadewych Minis), the wife takes pity on Borgman and lets him convalesce in a guest house. Slowly, Borgman insinuates himself into her life. He cleans himself up, gets hired on as the new gardener and is soon joined by his compatriots. Together, they insinuate themselves into the lives of the husband, the children, and even their nanny.
What is Borgman’s plan? How far is he willing to go to ensure its success? What happened to the old gardener? What is the strange scar that can be seen in the center of Borgman’s back and in the same spot on all of his co-horts? What are they doing to the children? Why are they doing what they’re doing? Why? Why? WHY?
Warmerdam, who appears in the film as one of Borgman’s cronies, leaves you with no answers, just a hell of a lot of questions, compounded by some of the eeriest scenes and unnerving imagery this side of Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter. His Borgman is the type of film of film that leads to lengthy post-film discussions… and at least one restless night of sleep.
Borgman opens Friday, June 20th in the San Francisco Bay Area at Landmark Theatres’ Opera Plaza Cinemas. Check your local creepy theatre listings.