STRANGLED (2016) Reviews and overview

   

‘There are no serial killers in this country! Is that clear?’

Strangled is a Hungarian psycho thriller written and directed by Árpád Sopsits, who also stars, alongside Zsolt Anger and Rita Dévényi. It was produced by Gabor Ferenczy and Attila Tozser for Focus Fox Studio. The original title is A martfüi rém

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Based on real-life events, this psycho-thriller is set in the provincial Hungary of the 1960s, when a series of atrocious murders shock the small town of Martfü. A psychotic killer is on the prowl, who continues to slaughter young women while an innocent man is wrongly accused and sentenced for crimes he could never have committed.

A determined detective arrives on the scene and soon becomes obsessed with the case while under pressure from the prosecutor to see a man hang. Stuck in the suffocating political and psychological world of socialist Hungary, we soon find ourselves entangled in a web of intricate conspiracy and disturbing drama.

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Brilliantly directed, most notably thanks to the remarkable work of director of photography Gabor Szabo, with its striking nocturnal scenes and an excellent reconstruction of the times in which these events took place, Strangled is a thriller not without formal qualities and intensity, built on a screenplay that moves forward relatively astutely…” Cineuropa

Strangled is a solid crime saga, benefitting from atmospheric cinematography by Gabor Szabo (the night-time scenes and lighting is vividly eerie) and a historic backdrop where the murders reverberate into the political arena of the era.” Cinevue

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“A couple of chase scenes in the mix are a tad overplayed, but they let the film stretch its legs for a couple minutes, so to speak. When Strangled is quiet is when it works best. The is a palpable sense of dread whenever the killer stalks his victims. That dread turns to outright fear when we realize that the killer’s intended victims are not going to escape.” Screen Anarchy

“Although the film is not a horror movie per se, cinematographer Gabor Szabo (presumably no relation to the late, great pop-jazz guitarist) gives it an evil, nocturnal look. The film is particularly chilling because it is all mostly true in fact and entirely true in spirit. Very highly recommended…” J.B. Spins

“As a police procedural, Strangled is often dull (although moments like a frenetic foot chase sequence see it spontaneously, briefly, burst into life), and as a film based on real events it does absolutely no justice to the socio-political complexities of the case. It’s merely an overly exploitative  thriller, that left me every bit as cold as the serial killer’s victims.” Film Inquiry:

Main cast:

  • Zsolt Anger
  • Rita Dévényi
  • Árpád Sopsits
  • Gábor Szabó
  • Zsolt Trill
  • Attila Tõzsér
  • Zsófia Szamosi
  • Károly Hajduk
  • Mónika Balsai
  • Zoltán Kovács
  • Péter Bárnai
  • Gabor Ferenczy
  • Gábor Jászberényi

Filming locations:

Martfü, Hungary