To talk about Kinderfanger, you first must delve into a bit of history here. History surrounding the malevolent being’s existence in media.
A play on the Pied Piper, The Kinderfanger is an entity that kidnaps and hypnotises children using music that he plays from his pipe. Using them to kill and then sucking out their life-force to sustain itself. It first appeared in Crypt TV’s fourth episode of Crypt Fables. Before a ten-episode series was made in 2020. This series that has now been put together, presumably edited down, and released as a full movie called Kinderfanger.
Confusing? A little, but it should be noted that this is detail found out after the fact. Watching Kinderfanger with no prior knowledge of this will have no effect on a viewer’s experience, Kinderfanger feels like a movie, one with more drama than you might expect, but also one with a lot of familiar and tired tropes.
Directed by Bridger Nielson, Kinderfanger stars Angel Theory, Dmitrious Bistrevsky, Aiden Burkett, and Andi Chapman.
Theory plays Olivia, a hearing-impaired musical teacher that is worried about a recent spate of child disappearances. When one of her closest students disappears, she decides to investigate and discovers that a demonic creature has set up residence in the town and is abducting the children. She ends up teaming up with ‘new in town’ Marcus, who is hunting the creature, having lost his younger brother to it years before.
Together, they must find a way to stop The Kinderfanger, while also dealing with their traumatic pasts.
Some of the movies best moments come from the traumatic pasts. In particular, Olivia and what happened to her when she was a child. It’s extremely harrowing stuff, told in flashback form across the movie, and revealing that some monsters are more human than others. If there’s one thing that everyone should take away from Kinderfanger, it is the stunning performance of Angel Theory as Olivia and Andi Chapman as her mother.
Forget the Kinderfanger and its confusing motivations/behaviour, give us a movie focusing completely on Olivia and her mother and we will be thoroughly entertained.
Which does mean the film has a serious problem and it’s the titular villain. The Kinderfanger is not frightening in any way. Nor does it seem to be that much of a threat. Seemingly able to get away with what it does because the town this movie is set in is deserted. Not even the police seem bothered about a spate of missing kids. No seriously, a police officer is never seen in his film. In fact, aside from a few other secondary characters, this town is empty.
It’s silly stuff like this that you can’t help but notice, particularly when the movie is trying to create tension or scares. None of which manages to deliver anything but a half-hearted shrug. It having a small army of feral children under its control could have been used for much more than it is.
By time it reaches the final third and the drawn-out confrontation with the Kinderfanger, attentions will be waning. Even more so that it doesn’t end when it had the perfect opportunity to end. Leaving you with the over-riding feeling that it could have been so much better.
The Final Score - 6/10