The Keep

The Keep ★★★★

—What are you? Where do you come from?
—Where am I from? I am... from you.

I am one-hundred percent living for this bogus, absolutely gorgeous bullshit. Mann crossbreeds his career-long Hugo-esque fascination with architecture (and its ever-evolving relation to mankind) together with some of the most batshit insane B-movie shlock that wouldn't look out of place in a Larry Cohen movie. The end result is what I imagine BvS: Dawn of Justice would have resembled if Warner Brothers had looked at Snyder's dailies and decided to cease funding halfway through while also giving him an ultimatum of either delivering a 90-minute cut or getting booted from the picture and all future studio endeavors. While definitely an outlier in Mann's filmography — both his only horror-adjacent work and, perhaps more importantly, the sole example of his Jewish heritage/identity, which may or may not have been one of his main reasons for adapting the book, manifesting on screen — the dignity he affords to material that's so anchored in the still-burgeoning style of its era (in other words, "dated" — on arrival, in this case), even in its compromised, truncated form, is not unlike his usual method with the genres and modes he's more often associated with; there is an earnestness here few other filmmakers could muster. Most of those that could — and would — died a long time ago, I believe.