“Strangled” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

16 November, 2017

Director: Árpád Sopsits
Screenwriter: Árpád Sopsits
Director of Photography: Gábor Szabó
Károly HajdukGábor JászberényiZsolt Anger

Synopsis: Set in a small Hungarian town during the 1960s, “Strangled” tells the true story of a humble man falsely imprisoned for murder after being mistaken for a barbaric doppelganger who strangles women to death in order to defile their bodies.

Strangled Review:

Artistically wholesome with enough impressionable imagery to induce subsequent night terrors, “Strangled” is blunt about the nature of murder and butchery, presenting a depraved thriller with a clinical tone to its kills. Prettier than the average “Maniac” slasher while somewhat stunted by its willingness to conform to the conventions of a mainstream aesthetic, the movie panders to an everyday audience, often losing interest in preserving its genuinely eerie observational quality as the chance for a number of thrilling chase sequences arises and quashes the film’s underlying hysteria.

A commendable work in its genre but fruitless as a memorable murder mystery, “Strangled” somehow turns a sequence involving a man climaxing while slicing a woman’s breasts off into a rather forgettable experience; proving that even the most obscene of on-screen acts can feel commonplace when given the opportunity to become monotonous. Brimming with details, from semi-naked bodies strewn across train tracks to bloated corpses extracted for examination, the film takes away life repeatedly and yet rarely examines the depth behind death, utilising neatly formed characterisations of victims alongside a necrophiliac whose motives are interpreted as evil and nothing more.

Despite the modern gloss, “Strangled” ultimately ends up feeling like it was ripped directly from the pages of history, capturing the rural greys and dowdiness that Hungarian directors love to dabble with as a killer with an extreme likeness to a man behind bars celebrates his freedom by strangling the life out of a sheltered community. Politically astute and blatantly aware of socialism’s crippling impact on the Eastern Bloc, “Strangled” pictures a time of interchangeable likeness in a region forced into conformity, suggesting oh-so brazenly that heinous acts are intrinsically linked to the enslavement of the society in which they occur. In this instance, the result is an unforgiving work of cinema that’s both unsavoury and impossible to ignore.


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