Der Samurai (2014)

der samurai 2014
This may be one of the weirdest movies I have seen in a long while. Horror movies are obviously my favorite genre, but what happens when you mix horror AND weirdness?? The ultimate jackpot, in my opinion. If you really want to get an idea of how bizarre this movie is, just watch the trailer (see below).

der samurai 2014A young policeman, Jakob, in a small German village becomes involved in a peculiar murder investigation when a stranger emerges from the woods, cloaked by a feminine dress, and begins to slaughter the villagers.

Jakob stumbles into this mess while trying to track down a wolf that has been disturbing the locals. Instead, he is led to a mysterious house with an even more mysterious man – a handsomely beautiful crossdresser. This enigma of a man is as swift and stealthy as a wolf in his long, flowy, white gown and carries a katana, a Samurai sword. From the moment of their first meeting, Jakob and “Der Samurai” are inexplicably linked. Jakob follows this man into the night as the Samurai-wielding-madman takes Jakob on a crusade of destruction and murder.

der samurai gifNo one does murderous transvestites like John Waters. Remember Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974), Desperate Living (1977), and Polyester (1981)?  Der Samurai is far from any John Waters’ films. Waters’ films are meant to be cheap and cheesy with low-brow humor while Der Samurai is a haunting, psychological thriller with a very dark and forbidding edge. The crossdresser is my new favorite villain!! He is so deliciously creepy with his corpse-like voice and cruel smile. The high-quality production value and characters transform this movie into a horrific fantasy tale, being part classic werewolf story and part Haute Tension.

At times the story can feel a little potholed, leaving you asking yourself constantly what the hell is going on in this crazy movie. But it is left unresolved in just the right way. Like in Donnie Darko, a lot of questions are left unanswered, which may frustrate some and cause fervent and enthusiastic debate amongst others. I fall in the latter category and my theory goes something like this… SPOILERS AHEAD.

der samurai gifDer Samurai is a queer retelling of the classic werewolf tale where a man comes out at night during the full moon masqueraded in female clothing rather than in a wolf’s skin.

Let me explain further…

Jakob is a very lonely young man who lives with his grandmother and has no friends. The beginning of the movie shows Jakob feeding the wolf in the woods on a full moon night, which in turn awakens his inner beast. Shortly after, he meets Der Samurai, who strangely resembles Jakob but with long hair and smeared, red lipstick (or blood). Der Samurai begins terrorizing the neighborhood and Jakob intends to stop him… until he joins in. This rivalry has somehow turned into an uncanny companionship, where it is hard to tell one from the other because they are one and the same character. This ostentatious crossdresser is a symbol of Jakob’s suppressed homosexual desires. Who will win this battle of this wills? Will Jakob tame this wild, feral beast or will he return from this night as his lonely and sexually repressed self?der-samurai-

This doesn’t explain all the unanswered questions in the film, but I think it broadly covers the overall themes of loneliness and suppression told in a fairy tale format. I’d love hear some more theories. Send in your responses below. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can rent this #mindfuckery of a film on Amazon.


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Thanks to actor Michael Diercks (playing Jakob) for retweeting my review!


Der Samurai (2014) on IMDb

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