Film Review: Moloch

While new religions might have taken-over the job of social control in most countries nowadays, folklore used to play a huge part in community life. While the new god(s), on the face of it at least, are more palatable, the old ones preyed on fear. Lurked in the dark, waiting to pounce. Demanding tribute or sacrifice. To punish naughty children or anyone who transgressed in a way which reflected the moral norms of the area. Moloch uses legend and superstition to create a very modern horror.

Betriek (Sallie Harmsen) lives in the north of the Netherlands on the edge of a peat bog. In a house shared with her mother (Anneke Blok) and daughter (Noor van der Velden), while her father (Fred Goessens) is next door. There’s an unspoken trauma which makes them believe that their family is cursed. An archaeological dig, led by Jonas (Alexandre Willaume), is taking place in the ancient peatland, but some things are meant to remain buried.  

Where Moloch excels is in the way it conjures up a creepy and otherworldly atmosphere. A pall lingers perpetually above the wetlands, as if merely waiting to swoop in on an unsuspecting villager. The spectre of ancient evil looms large throughout Nico van den Brink arresting folk horror. It doesn’t quite manage to land the finish, and gets a little bogged down, but Moloch is a treat for fans of all things eerie.

Moloch streams exclusively on Shudder from 21 July.

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