It is hard to talk about a film that you feel like you’ve seen a dozen times already, but realize that those movies it is incredibly similar to have mostly played the festival circuits and haven’t had wider releases yet. With that being said though, Peter Hengl’s Family Dinner feels like a cross between all of those ‘dinner party’ esque movies that redefine the WTF moment for better and or for worse. While the twist and that moment may not be that surprising, it is the way that Peter gets the movie to that point that makes this so intriguing to watch and see it all unfold.
There is a lot to unpack in Peter Hengl’s German Easter Weekend horrorfest, as it starts with Simi who is played by Nina Katelin whose an overweight teenager, visiting her aunt’s house for the week surrounding Easter, despite the fact that her aunt recently divorced her uncle. Claudia, her aunt, played by Pia Hierzegger, lives a strange lifestyle with her son Filipp played by Alexander Sladek and new love, Stefan played by Michael Pink. Despite the fact that Simi originally came to her aunts house for the week to lose weight, originally she is told she’s not welcomed for Easter as it is a family affair. Soon after Claudia decides to take Simi under her wing and make her, her new project for the week or longer, and things start to unravel and become clear something is not as it seems. As things start to become more sinister and disturbing, the audience finds themselves at the edge of their seats watching something truly unspeakable unfold in front of their eyes.
Nina Katelin delivers a performance of sheer curiosity and terror that sends shivers down the audiences spines as we become entranced by her character and performance. Pia Hierzegger and Alexander Sladek as well deliver terrific performances that truly capture the uncomfortable tone the movie wants to accomplish. With the terrific performances from the entire cast, and a truly uncomfortable script given to use from Peter Hengl, Family Dinner perfectly encapsulates the dread that comes with those awkward family dinners, but certainly more traumatizing than any of those dinners actually are, one would hope.