Moloch – Fantasia 2022


Moloch – Fantasia 2022

Betriek lives at the edge of a peat bog in the North of the Netherlands. When she and her family are attacked by a random stranger one night, Betriek sets out to find an explanation. The more she digs, the more she becomes convinced that she is being hunted by something ancient.

July 14 to

August 3, 2022

An isolated community in the Netherlands is haunted by an ancient curse in . Betriek () live at an isolated house in the Dutch countryside surrounded by a peat bog. It is in the bog where an ancient corpse of a woman is discovered, which attracts a team of archeologists lead by Jonas (). However, as more bodies are exhumed, supernatural events begin to occur, which Betriek believes is part of an old family curse, which dates back the legend of a witch that sacrificed herself to the Canaanite God Moloch.

Moloch is a Dutch folk horror film and the feature film debut from co-writer and director Nico van den Brink. The plot of the film is set in motion when an ancient cadaver is discovered in a Dutch bog and the man who made the discovery suddenly drops dead. The uncovering of the body attracts Danish archeologist Jonas, with Betriek acting as his guide in this isolated community. However, when a member of Jonas' team inexplicably breaks into Betriek's family's house and tries to kill her mother, Betriek begins to fear that an ancient family curse that resulted in the murder of her grandmother 30 years prior has come back to haunt them.

Towards the end of the second act of Moloch, the Dutch community where the film is set holds a pageant and parade in memory of the ”Legend of Feike,” where a woman accused of witchcraft sacrificed herself to the God Moloch and ended up becoming as a folk hero. This myth-building sets the stage for the film's chilling climax, which evokes the atmosphere of John Carpenter's The Fog, while also suggesting that this community holds a very dark secret that does not become apparent until the very end.

While the film does feature a few jump scare, Moloch is much more a film about building dread and establishing the mythology surrounding the horror. The film also plays with viewer expectations, as some of the supernatural events within the film end up not being exactly what they appear. This is also a film that will benefit from multiple viewings, in order to uncover all the secrets hiding just under the surface.

Overall, I have to say that Moloch is a quite well done feature film debut for director Nico van den Brink, who is next working on a feature adaptation of his early short film The Burdon, co-produced by both James Wan and Sam Raimi. Indeed, as evidenced by Moloch, Nico van den Brink is a filmmaker to watch out for.

Trailer for Moloch – Fantasia 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.