The Movie Waffler New to Shudder - BREEDER | The Movie Waffler

New to Shudder - BREEDER

breeder review
A woman is held captive in a secret facility harvesting infants for an anti-aging serum.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Jens Dahl

Starring: Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Signe Egholm Olsen, Anders Heinrichsen, Morten Holst

breeder poster

Watching director Jens Dahl's gruelling Danish thriller Breeder, I was reminded of a moment from Horse Feathers where Groucho Marx breaks the fourth wall and advises the audience: "I've got to stay here, but there's no reason why you folks shouldn't go out into the lobby until this thing blows over." In order to write this review, I had to endure all 107 minutes of Breeder, but why would anyone voluntarily put themselves through such an empty, immature experience?

breeder review

More torture yawn than torture porn, Breeder is the latest in what appears to be a new wave of extreme horror movies coming out of Denmark. Unlike the New French Extremism movement of the 2000s, the recent Danish horrors I've seen have nothing to offer in terms of style, innovation or political or philosophical musings - they're simply the products of cynical shock merchants at worst, juvenile edge-lords at worst, and they have more in common with the wave of American horrors that arrived in the aftermath of Eli Roth's Hostel.

Breeder has an intriguing setup at least. Like a modern day Countess Bathory, Dr. Isabel Ruben (Signe Egholm Olsen) has developed a way to halt the aging process (we're told she's 61 but looks two decades younger). The means of doing so are far from legal or ethical however, and so she finds her "investors" through a process of blackmail. Her latest "backer" is wealthy veterinarian Thomas (Anders Heinrichsen), whose equestrian wife Mia (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen) is desperate for a child but can't get her hubby interested in any slap and tickle.

breeder review

When Mia finds herself held captive in Ruben's secret facility, we learn the grim reality of why Thomas was reluctant to impregnate her. Ruben has been kidnapping young women and impregnating them with the semen of her rich clients, harvesting the blood of their infants to develop what Peter Cushing might have referred to as a "serrrrrrum."

After a promising opening act that lays out this nefarious world, Breeder devolves into an atrocity exhibition. Desperate to shock us, Dahl forces us to watch such scenes as a guard urinating on Mia, another female captive having her teeth pulled by a pliers, and a skip filled with the corpses of newborn babies. Ooh, you're well hard Jens! Herschell Gordon Lewis did this sort of thing in the 1960s, but that was an act of rebellion against a stuffy, censorious society that balked at the idea of two people sharing a bed onscreen. In 2021, such images have completely lost their power to shock, leaving them redundant.

breeder review

While I'm not drawn to it personally, I'm not opposed to the inclusion of such gross-out imagery if it serves a greater overall purpose. I'm a defender of the much maligned A Serbian Film, as that movie actually tells a story and has something to say, and its litany of horrific images builds to a knockout punchline. Breeder has no story to tell and nothing to say; it simply attempts to provoke a reaction, as though it's the product of a neglected child. The notion of a cabal of wealthy men exploiting vulnerable young women in an attempt to cling onto their youth should be a winning premise, but Dahl doesn't seem all that interested in exploring his own film's ideas.

 is on Shudder UK now.