The Devil's Bath art

The Devil’s Bath (Movie Review)

It is 1750 in Upper Austria and a depressed, ill woman contemplates the unthinkable… suicide. A different time, during this particular period of catholicism the idealogy was quite strict, and suicide meant eternal damnation. A very daunting thought to ponder, it is also interesting to note that during the 18th century there were around 400 cases of what is called “suicide by proxy” in German speaking regions. You may find yourself asking – what does that mean? Well, suicide by proxy is where a suicidal person commits a capitol crime to somehow earn their own executions. A wild concept in today’s world, the majority of these reported cases were also in fact women.

Laying this history out there, you now have the film The Devil’s Bath which comes to Shudder on Friday, 28, 2024. The newest work from Writers/Directors duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (known for such works as 2014’s Goodnight Mommy,  as well as 2019’s The Lodge), The Devil’s Bath, aka Des Teufels Bad, offers a haunting look at this tragic story of suicide by proxy. Following Anges (portrayed by Musician turned Actress Anja Plaschg), the character delves into marriage with hopes and expectations of building a family. However, Wolf (David Scheid: Dave Series, Heribert 2024), seems to be uninterested in Agnes physically and refuses to give her a child. From here things become unbearable once she realizes she has a controlling mother-in-law, thus she feels isolated and plunges down a darkened path, narrowing toward ending it all. 

The Devil's Bath photo
The Devil’s Bath / Shudder (2024)

Very sad, the one thing that rings true about The Devil’s Bath, and that is it is hard one to watch. Although categorized as a period-based Psychodrama, the reality is that The Devil’s Bath is a brutal, dark, twisted, and gruesome film. It will certainly make some cry, while others will be so upset they may have to leave the room. There are others who may even relate to the film’s story to an extent. However, all the harshness aside, it is quite a phenomenally made film. 

Drawing it all out, The Devil’s Bath is  lit really well and gives you rightful mood setting effects needed in certain scenes. That being said, with any historical type film, you want to feel like it is authentic. Too many times these types of films fall short of such ecstatic feeling, but The Devil’s Bath truly feels as if it is really set in the 1700. Joining this, the score (also penned by Anja Plaschg) is nothing less than poetic. Riveting, you can say the soundtrack itself is what sets everything in motion more than other aspects. 

The Devil's Bath art
The Devil’s Bath / Shudder (2024)

Beyond this, while Plaschg is mostly recognized for her musical work as Soap&Skin, her acting skills in The Devil’s Bath are also nothing less than marvelous. Joining her, the entire cast deserves a standing ovation; including Maria Hofstätter (The Final Days 2005, Paradise: Faith 2012) as Mother Ganglin, the controlling mother-in-law to Agnes. Overall, from the storytelling to the atmosphere, and everything in between, The Devil’s Bath may be a dark film with ominous sensations, but it is really exceptional. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.  

The Devil's Bath / Shudder
The Devil’s Bath / Shudder (2024)

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