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Grimm Love (2006)

Grimm_Love

Grimm Love/Rohtenburg (2006) – In Germany, as graduate student Katie Armstrong researches cannibal killer Oliver Hagen for her thesis, she becomes obsessed with her subject and ultimately plunges into a lifestyle similar to Hagen’s and the thousands of people like him.

grimm love

Keri Russell (Dark Skies) plays Katie Armstrong, an American student in Germany studying criminal psychology. She chooses a notorious subject for her thesis: the cannibal killer Oliver Hartwin (played by Thomas Kretschmann – King Kong, Hostel III). Oliver dreamed of eating a willing victim, and thanks to the internet, he was able to find a volunteer, a young man Simon Grombeck (played by Thomas Huber).
The story is told in flashbacks as Katie researches these men and their pasts. Events culminate in Katie’s discovery of a snuff tape that documents the crime.

By going back to the very beginning of the lives of both men respectively, it showcases just how the pair became influenced by their families and the way that they were brought up. The willing victim, Simon, realized he was gay at a very young age and when his mother discovered his secret, she took her life. From that moment forward, Simon always felt responsible for his mother’s death and grew up being ashamed of the man he was, despite finding love in his boyfriend, Felix.

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Just a few towns over was the reclusive Oliver who seemed to be left by just about everyone, besides his psychotic mother. Oliver’s only friend was imaginary and while he wasn’t playing with him or being bullied by his classmates, he was developing a creepy fascination with flesh while spying on local butchers at work. On top of his already fragile state of mind, Oliver’s mother played on his guilt and sympathy by making him feel like he had to take care of her, essentially making him terrified of ever moving forward with his life and leaving her behind. You can guess the rest – they meet up and both their wishes come true. Thanks to flashbacks and tape footage we get to fill in the blanks and see how this fairytale played out.

I think that the film is a decent study of the human mind but far from perfect. There’s a scene toward the end where Katie finally gets hold of a copy of the tape, dropped off at her door by some mysterious helper. I was expecting them to meet and for her story to run parallel, culminating in a relationship between them where she explores her obsession. I was hoping for an in-depth exploration of how a human being can possibly come to commit the acts that these people did. Is that what I got? I don’t do spoilers, but lets just say the ending was abrupt and disappointing.

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I’ll give Grimm Love some credit, there are a few nice moments between Hatrwin and Grombeck where you can see that here are two human beings with a strong need that can only be satisfied by each other. There’s a sense of companionship, love, and mutual discovery.

The main part of this movie that doesn’t work is the wraparound tale of Katie’s investigation, which lacks any real drama, serving only as an introduction to the two men in the case. The movie tries to build her story up as a thrilling, potentially life-threatening search for the mysterious video tape (which, in the real case, has always been in police custody), but that approach goes nowhere.

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Director Martin Weisz forges a fictional retelling of the crimes of Armin “The Rohtenburg Cannibal” Meiwes, a socially repressed homosexual responsible for the castration and cannibalization of a willing participant. It plays more like a drama than a horror movie or thriller, which is appropriate, given it really is based on a true case of voluntary cannibalism. The names have been changed, but for the most part, the story seems to be factual. It is never too gory, and whilst a little blood is spilled, it is far from the blood bath you would expect from a film about cannibals. The acting on show is solid but nothing spectacular. Over 20 minutes of Keri Russell’s work was cut from the final movie, and maybe that was why the pace felt a little off. It is nice to see a low-budget horror film and recognise the cast though, both with Russell and Thomas Kretschmann having been in some pretty big films throughout their careers.

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In conclusion then, it is much more interesting reading about the real life case of Armin Meiwes rather than watching this movie, but if you ever see it playing on TV and are interested in the subject matter, you could do a lot worse than giving this some Grimm Love.

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28 Comments

  1. theipc

     /  April 16, 2013

    LOL – I rented this once and never watched it – I think it’ll probably stay that way : )

    Great work, Handsome.

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  2. Inspired by a true story huh? I like true stories…I’ll give it a shot if i ever run into it. Well done Tyson.

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  3. *GASP* Keri Russell! I love her ever since I first saw her in Felicity 🙂 I’ll look this one up even if you only gave it 5/10…

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    • Yeah it’s not something id recommend to most people, but the true story aspect is the highlight. Russell looks good at least! Cheers Kim 🙂

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  4. Garry Armstrong

     /  April 16, 2013

    We Armstrongs are very determined reporters!!

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  5. I saw an excellent documentary on the actual case this movie was inspired by some years ago. Freaky shit. I can barely comprehend why someone would want to eat another person. But I can never get my head around the appeal of being eaten. Just as well, I guess. Bon appetit. 🙂

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  6. Not really for me but I’ll keep popping to find one that is. 😉

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    • Since I let you guests do the good films last week, I had to get back to basics with some penis eating cannibal true story 🙂

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  7. Nice write up man. Not really my cup of tea from the sounds of things. Not enough Jennifer Lawrence.

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    • Thanks mate. Yeah it’s really aiming for a niche, but these are the films I watch so have to try put the word out!

      Get over Jennifer already, she chose me and you need to move on 😉

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  8. Maybe I’m just being tremendously slow or reading far too much into it, but why the ‘Grimm’ in Grimm Love?

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    • I would guess it’s lazy translation, rather than the original German name, for it’s release over here we get Grimm Love. All I can think of it’s a nasty subject, these 2 guys were in love with an idea of eating each other that you or I may find disgusting or grim? 🙂

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      • Whilst that does make sense, I was expecting someone to be eaten my a demented troll or perhaps a rabid fairy.

        You can’t build up that kind of expectation and then make people watch a movie that examines the human psyche. It’s just not right. 🙂

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