The Merits of Sin: Heaven is Only in Hell (1994) (Netherlands)

“Go and find the old well with the witch mark. Bring a blood sacrifice to the well. Blood. Lots of blood. Descend into the well and on the other side of it you will become, with the help from the dark forces, an eternal heavenly life.” Did you memorize that quote? No? That’s okay. You’re going to hear it about 400 more fucking times.

This must be the place

A centuries ago prologue introduces us to a witch and her daughter reading a book in which said quote resides. They flee from something, the daughter is hidden under leaves and mama witch is killed off screen. We are then transported to 1994 Netherlands. Where we follow the mundane lives of two people. There’s mechanic Michael, who rides his bicycle around and wears a jacket two sizes too big to go along with his hair that may be a mullet mutated thanks to gamma radiation. We also follow Sharon who takes a train to work and zones out in the presence of flowing water.

This must be the place

She hears the words about the well and it seems to be drawing her to its location. Said location just happens to be in the house Michael has purchased. Following a party with a group of people who try and fail to act like humans, Michael too begins to hear the call of those oh so familiar words.

This must be the place

Nightmares seem to predict reality and our leads are on a collision course with fate. I’m sorry. “Collision course” makes this sound exciting and that’s just not fair to someone coming into this for the first time. Let’s just say they’re on a light and repetitive stroll to destiny. It’s like walking in a circle but never figuring out that forward momentum is alluding you. Scenes repeat themselves and that familiar dialogue constantly barges in as Michael and Sharon come closer to the realization that immortality is just one blood sacrifice away.

This must be the place

There’s a couple scenes of violence but most of the action consists of aerobics classes, reading, engine checks and making coffee in real time. Muffled dialogue helps lull the viewer into a sleepy world of anti-entertainment and the exact opposite of progression. You’re not gaining ground and then the drabness is broken by a scene of middle aged women gyrating in an aerobics class and the silent awkwardness for a young man sitting alone at a bar…in REAL TIME! It’s definitely weird and I won’t soon forget it but I wouldn’t go into it tired or you may just get yourself lost traveling on the circular path that leads nowhere and offers no clue as to where you should be getting off. More proof that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, just because you like movies doesn’t mean you should make them. 4/10

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