Der Bunker is a German film, written and directed by Nikias Chryssos.
It’s not always helpful to try to describe a film in terms of work from other filmmakers, but this film is so bizarre, I’m not sure it can be completely avoided. If anything, it helps give you a sense of the type of experience you’re in for.
The movie has been frequently compared to something from David Lynch or John Waters. Personally, I didn’t get much of a Lynch vibe (I think this is sometimes just the go-to for calling something weird, and Der Bunker is indeed very, very weird), but I’d be lying if I said that Waters’ name didn’t enter my mind as I was watching it. As long as we’re doing this kind of comparison, I’ll say that to me, Der Bunker is something like The Baby meets 10 Cloverfield Lane as co-directed by John Waters and Takashi Miike (in German). If that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know how else to sell you on it.
Much like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Der Bunker takes place in a bunker and focuses on just a few people.That’s essentially where that comparison ends, but with that movie being so fresh in our collective mind, it’s hard not be reminded of it. Much like The Baby, one of the main characters is an apparently full grown man who has the personality of and is treated by his caretakers like a young child.
In the film, a student played by Pit Bukowski (Der Samurai) shows up at the bunker, where a couple (David Scheller and Oona von Maydell) are raising their man-child Klaus (Daniel Fripan) in isolation. The student (which is actually the character’s name) is there to rent a room where he can spend his time concentrating on his own studies, but instead finds this odd family taking up most of his time, especially once he has to start paying for his meals by tutoring the man-child. Oh, and there are some incestual themes and the mom has a huge wound on her leg that has an alien inside of it, who speaks to her in a demonic voice.
Der Bunker is well-shot, and the score feels unique and fresh. The film is confidently made and well-acted. You totally buy that these people are as batshit crazy as what the story would have you believe, and it’s clear that Chryssos has a vision that he’s sticking to, even if you don’t quite understand what it is that he’s seeing. It’s perhaps something akin to listening to a friend describe an abstract dream they had. It makes a great deal of sense to them, even if you don’t fully grasp why they would have it in the first place.
The film has a lot of good things going for it. While as a whole, Der Bunker didn’t quite work for me personally, I feel confident that there is an audience who will appreciate it much more.
Der Bunker hits DVD and Blu-ray on August 23. You can see a clip below.