Strangled is a Hungarian film, based on real-life events in provincial Hungary, not long after an unsuccessful uprising and during the height of Socialism and is directed by Árpád Sopsits (Abandoned, Fly Trap).
“Isn’t it a bit odd that she killed herself in the nude?”
It’s 1957 in the small Hungarian town of Martfű. Well known for it’s shoe factory, the town is about to become known for something far more sinister, as a young woman is killed and raped on her way home from working at the factory.
The current political landscape has made the authorities nervous and they want a quick resolution, so her lover Réti Ákos (Gábor Jászberényi – Motel) is rounded up, confesses and is sentenced to death, although this sentence is later reduced to lifetime imprisonment.
The case is closed and the authorities are happy, until seven years later in 1964, when a young woman is found raped and killed and thrown into the local lake. As more women are attacked and killed, it becomes apparent (although no-one really wants to admit it) that the man in prison is innocent.
The new case is headed by Szirmai Zoltán (Péter Bárnai – The Sun Street Boys, Weekend), Comrade Prosecutor for the Socialist Party. At first he faces resentment from the local police investigator Bóta (Zsolt Anger – The Investigator) but the two soon realise they must work together to stop this monster as quickly as possible.
As they investigate the case, we are witness to the atrocities committed by the true “monster of Martfű”, Bognár Pál (Károly Hajduk – Black Brush), a driver at the shoe factory. We also see the progress of Réti, still incarcerated for another man’s crimes.
Strangled is a very good film, although challenging and quite uncomfortable to watch in places. It’s graphic depictions of murder and necrophilia are central to the story but certainly not for the faint hearted. It is beautifully written and captures the drab existence that was 1960’s Eastern Bloc countries.
Not for everyone, but this is a well put together thriller and absolutely worth a watch.
“We shouldn’t be ashamed to be alive. And we should try to live.”
Strangled will be released on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray on 05th Feb 2018.