Dir. Karim Ouelhaj | Belgium | 2022 | 100 mins
Siblings Martha (Eline Schumacher) and Felix (Benjamin Ramon) live together in their vast Gothic manor, but their lives couldn’t be more different. The timid Martha works nights as a janitor at a factory; a quietly focused existence, interrupted by occasional visits from a social worker. Felix, on the other hand, has dedicated himself to following in the bloody footsteps of their father – Belgium’s serial killer ‘Butcher of Mons’ – kidnapping and brutally murdering innocent women. Their strange co-existence is transformed after Martha suffers a series of horrific assaults at work, and the siblings’ lives begin to converge in a deeply sinister way. Unable to face her abuser, Martha leans into her brother’s violent world, holding a woman hostage in their home and subjecting her to horrific treatment, while Felix provides care for his sister in the only way he knows how: killing for her. As unspeakable horrors unfold, the siblings at last discover (and find comfort in) the concept of family – a concept that has been twisted and distorted beyond all recognition.
MEGALOMANIAC is inspired by a series of real-life unsolved murders, but there is something far darker to be discovered here than a story about a serial killer. Audience sympathies are cruelly toyed with as the vulnerable Martha is portrayed as victim and executioner, with both facets brought to life via Schumacher’s haunting and complex performance. Director Karim Ouelhaj crafts a suffocating and nihilistic atmosphere with MEGALOMANIAC, visually enhanced by the bold Gothic set design. The film blends elements of extreme horror, the supernatural, grotesque fantasy and harrowing reality, until it reaches its horrifying conclusion.
Note: Contains scenes of sexual violence that some viewers may find distressing.
Screening with LASS MÖRDER SEIN