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{Fantastic Fest 2022} Razzennest Review- Creepy, Quirky Weirdness

“I don’t even know where to start,” a character says early in Razzennest. I feel exactly the same way trying to explain Johannes Grenzfurthner‘s vision. For those who don’t know his previous work, he is known for bizarre experimental films. His latest film to premiere in the Burnt Ends division of Fantastic Fest 2022 is a perfect example of what he does. It is an utterly unique, weird, and wholly affecting experience. I can’t say I enjoyed it so much as it wrung tingles, laughs, snorts, and rolled eyes from me. Think of it as ridiculous insanity that forces you to laugh or cringe despite your confusion.

South African filmmaker Manus Oosthuizen(Michael Smulik) has more self-importance than actual talent. He has arrived at an Echo Park sound studio to record an audio commentary track with Rotten Tomatoes-approved independent critic Babette Cruickshank(Sophie Kathleen Kozeluh) for his latest movie Razzennest. Joining him are key crew members and his manager. It doesn’t take long for things to take an unexpected turn. As people begin to get sick and worse, they find themselves falling down a rabbit hole they never knew existed.


Smolik and Kuzeloh each capture their respective characters’ quirks. He is pompous, impatient, and wordy, while she is overly eager, insecure, and desperate to prove her intellectual worth by spouting obscure movie facts and history. Both of them cling to an identity that never was real and yet is relatable. They play off of each other’s flaws, giving them an absurd normalcy that is incredibly effective once things get freaky.

Babette and Manus are caricatures of egotistical filmmakers and equally insufferable critics who spew buzzy catchphrases and endless strings of pop culture iconography. I’ve met people like these before. But, as ridiculous as they are, they feel real. These are people who take themselves and their art way too seriously. Art is important, but not everything is life or death. They both cling to their artifices even when things begin getting strange, and man, do they get strange. Razzennest asks the viewer to use their imagination, giving them plenty of fuel for the fire.

Grezfurthner is unapologetic in his approach. He is a brilliant, if unusual, mind that envisions things few can imagine. His latest Razzennest is an auditory experience that reads like a podcast with video footage attached. Think of it as a very dark version of Mystery Science 3000, where something terrible happens to all the robots. The footage itself is an eclectic compilation of nature pictures, animals, and historical artifacts. It shouldn’t be unsettling, but with the escalating madness of the audio track, things get weird real fast, and you are drawn along a disturbing ride of cursed caves and cruelty.

Although the horror comes solely from the commentary, the images that become eerily timed to the tract will stick with you. The film is so unexpected you feel off-balance the entire time. Unrelated, ordinary, unexpected, and disturbing imagery combine into a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s hilarious and disturbing all at the same time. It never lets you relax and settle into a groove and creeps up on you despite your initial feelings. Alec Empire’s score keeps the pressure applied, making you tense even before you realize how tightly wound you are.

Razzennest won’t be for everyone, but it is a triumph for those who like to revel in the odd, shadowy places of the uncommon. The film is like the scariest campfire story told deep in the woods. It’s equal parts cheese and inexplicable freakiness that you can’t shake. Grenfurthner has a knack for taking the most normal things and turning them against you. Find all our Fantastic Fest 2022 coverage here.