Hagazussa ★★★½

An incredibly rich and effective film, brimming with mood and vision; elevated by the expressive performance of Aleksandra Cwen, overwhelming sound design and great use of natural lighting and striking cinematography.

The person who recommended this to me likened it to Repulsion and The Witch, yet although on the surface the latter is about as apt of a comparison you can get, I found this to scratch a couple of itches that most appeal to me (primarily its focus on more psychological elements) and differed mainly in one way: the pace. If The Witch was slow for you then Hagazussa is downright glacial, however, I was fully engaged with it from start-to-finish with the reasons I stated at the beginning never diminishing - spiralling into a chilling climax that makes the build-up and sparse dialogue so rewarding.

The two performances from Celina Peter (child) and Aleksandra Cwen (older) as Albrun was the highlight for me, Cwen especially was fearless at the end, however, Peter was equally as expressive and served as a great introduction to the character in making me feel sympathy for her.

I'm tempted to try and deconstruct the meanings and overtly psychological elements that linger throughout the film, however, this is the type of a film, to me, that the less you know going in the better. Quite honestly there's a lot to unpack, so a rewatch in the future will clear up some of the questions I have and (hopefully) make it as captivating that it was on my first viewing.

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