"Aspiring athlete Marie (the gorgeous Eline Kuppens) meets the enigmatic Bobby (a likeable but disturbing turn from Matthias Schoenaerts) apparently by chance and the two begin a sexually-charged romance, prompting her to move in with him at a run-down housing estate in the Left Bank district of Antwerp. It comes as no surprise when soon all is not well, as Marie discovers that the previous tenant disappeared in mysterious circumstances and that something sinister has been hidden in the cellar. Curious, but unable to trust anyone, she follows a thread of increasingly ominous clues into a nightmare of unimaginable horror.
Director Pieter Van Hees has crafted a haunting, erotic and truly memorable film, modern in tone, but surely to become a timeless classic. He teases us with a slow-burner of a script, suggesting the horrors to come without giving anything away of the actual content until its shocking conclusion. By being grounded in the real world, with mysteriously spooky glimpses of another world unlike our own, he is able to create so much empathy with our lead, thus when the final act delivers its absorbing climax you can't help but pray for her safety.
Both Kuppens and Schoenaerts are superb; their passionate relationship as absorbing as any witnessed on screen. It may be slow in tempo, but without such sedation, the final impact simply wouldn't work. Van Hees isn't afraid to show a bit of flesh either, the arthouse approach adding to its brutal realism. With each passing second, Marie fails to piece together the ominous clues, her surroundings become increasingly unsettling, while the auteur showcases some truly memorable body horror to keep our eyes glued to the screen. And then there's that bone-shuddering conclusion..." DW