Art & Culture

Wakolda aka The German Doctor, is an unappetisingly titled film that is remarkably engaging, chilling and suspenseful. Set in South America in the early 1960s, it initially follows a family on the move to a new home. They acquire a companion to whom they give a lift. He is German doctor living in Argentina, and he becomes fascinated with the family; and in particular the mother (who is carrying twins) and the teenage daughter who is remarkably small for her age.

The revelation,quite late in the film,of his true identity is not so much a surprise (we have begun to recognise that he is not only creepy, but also not what he appears) as a horrible realisation of our worst fears. This is not a horror film in any conventional sense of the word. There are no extraterrestrials, vampires, zombies or men in hockey masks. But there is horror here, in the real sense of the word, at the dawning awareness of what this innocent family has let itself in for.

My fear that the combination of an obscure title and a summer release will let the film be overlooked, which would be a shame. Do try and see it, even if only on DVD.





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