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FANTASIA: Urban Explorer zu dem momentan wohl wichtigsten Genre-Film Festivals Nord-Amerikas eingela

Beneath the city of Berlin is an extraordinary network of abandoned bunkers and tunnels, shadowy remnants of the Nazi era. These dark places have captured the imaginations of many. This film – one of the most unsettling that you will find in our 2011 lineup – opens with four young urban explorers from an equal number of countries meeting up at a Berlin nightclub, beneath which is rumoured to be a pathway of catacombs that lead to a legendary Third Reich bunker. They only know each other from the internet and the guide they’re waiting to meet is every bit as unknown. Their excitement and curiosity is tinged with the thrill of fear. Not long after descending into the tunnels, they encounter a pack of neo-Nazis and things quickly go bad, then worse. But, one terrible accident later, the Nazis are forgotten. It becomes horribly clear that there are far worse things to be feared here when they meet a former East German border guard who still has a home in the tunnels. He once was a sharpshooter. A warrior in the Red Army against the Afghani Mujahedeen. And today? Well…

Atmospheric, violent and terrifying, URBAN EXPLORER towers tall as one of this year’s most harrowing horror discoveries. While every city has skeletons in its past, Berlin is steeped in a residual energy that is impossible to fully shake, and no foreigner can entirely dismiss its dark history. This film plays on that subconscious dread with a cunning that borders on toxicity. Director/editor/cinematographer Andy Fetscher is a major filmmaker to watch. He’s also a man who does not enjoy shooting on soundstages. For URBAN EXPLORER, he regularly shot in confined and dangerous spaces (one of the hairiest locations being a former autobahn tunnel in East Germany that was built by the Nazis circa1939 and sealed during the Cold War), often illegally, in ways that risked physical harm and eventually saw him along with his AD arrested and thrown into jail for a night! Among the film’s many standouts, Klaus Stiglmeier’s performance is positively astounding. It’s the most eccentric and crazed performance to ravage the genre world since HUMAN CENTIPEDE introduced us to Dieter Laser. Apparently Klaus is a war vet turned method actor — at one particularly charged point in production, he went berserk and attacked a make-up assistant, biting her leg! While it has elements of slasher and torture-horror subgenres on the surface, URBAN EXPLORER actually belongs to neither of those camps. Beneath its predator-and-prey dynamics is a startling addressing of the phenomenon of fearing "otherness", which ironically here, proves itself to be completely justified. It’s incredibly upsetting and at the same time, frightening to the core. Watch out for a moment of in-plain-sight public victimization that ranks among the most chilling setpieces the genre has seen in years!

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