This starts Femke’s spree of murders where all the victims are people who just don’t know how to be nice. Somehow, Femke’s late-night activities are missed by her daughter Anna (Claire Porro) and boyfriend Erik Flenderman, aka Steven Dood (Bram van der Kelen), who is a horror author. Steven has a very edgy goth persona but is actually very grounded and peaceful. If anything, Femke’s inner life matches Steven’s outer appearance. It doesn’t take long until Anna finds her mother’s “tool-kit,” but automatically assumes it belongs to Steven.
“… a hilariously subversive satire of being internet famous…”
Writer Daan Windhorst and director Ivo van Aart deliver a hilariously subversive satire of being internet famous, as well as the global political divide amongst common people. It’s also interesting that the film is technically about a female serial killer, which would make it novel enough. But the fact that the killings are shown as kind of an afterthought is incredibly fascinating. Femke sees herself as a vigilante for all the nice people in the world. She doesn’t see her madness, blaming others instead. The Columnist is a bitingly clever observation of the internet of today, which is a microcosm of the world at large.
There are so many topics explored throughout The Columnist: family, politics, writer’s block, and, most importantly, manners. It’s a short film, coming in at under 90 minutes, but it packs quite an intellectual and psychological wallop. I found myself blown away by the final scene, and in general, by Katja Herber’s unflinching no-nonsense performance. The Columnist is that rare mix of comedy and horror that isn’t too cheesy or over the top. It’s also definitely one of my favorite films of 2020 so far. Be sure to check out this blood-soaked satire as soon as you can.
The Columnist played at the 2020 edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival.
"…a hilariously subversive satire of being internet famous..."