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Tears Of Kali
cast: Mathieu Carriere, Peter Martell, Adrian Topol, Magdalena Fernandez Ritter, and Anja Gebel

writer and director: Andreas Marschall

110 minutes (18) 2004
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Like its label-mate, Eyes Of Crystal, Tears Of Kali is a uniquely European piece of horror cinema. However, where Eyes... uses the traditions of Italian giallo cinema to great effect, Tears... adopts a very different narrative approach.

Here there is no main character but rather a main idea. Each one of the three stories presented here spins out of the work of the Taylor-Erikkson Group, a therapy group who delved far deeper into the human subconscious than any of their predecessors had dared to. As each of these stories unfolds, it becomes clear that the TE Group did anything but heal their subjects and the consequences of their work is still being felt.

The first film, Shakti deals with a woman in an asylum for the criminally insane who may be innocent of the crime she was put there for, if not necessarily innocent. It's a theatrical piece, little more than a two-hander but it's electric to watch. As we begin to find out more about the TE Group, there's absolute empathy between the audience and the characters, both reacting with abject horror. Here, the clearly small budget has been used to great effect, the small cast and minimal locations giving the piece a real sense of claustrophobia.

The second film, Devi, takes a similar approach, this time following a man with violent tendencies as he goes to a TE-trained therapist for help. Once again there's the same to and fro between characters and once again a tight, claustrophobic location; in this case, the therapist's office. However, Devi approaches the TE Group from a very different angle. Where the characters of Shakti are damaged goods as a result of their time with the group, the therapist at the heart of Devi has nothing but good experiences with the group. He's a polite, retiring man with absolute faith in his abilities and an approach to his patients that, when you see it, will make your blood run cold. Devi is far and away the strongest of the three films in terms of gore but also the strongest story and the film is worth seeing for this section alone.

Finally, Kali presents still another view, this time of someone who survived his time with the group relatively unscathed. A faded healer whose reputation now rests more on the faith of his patients than his abilities, he gets a new lease of life when a patient asks him for help. Here the focus is opened out a little to encompass the healer, his wife and the patient but there's still the same claustrophobic feel to it. Kali is the most overtly tragic of the three stories and it brings the film as a whole to a very subdued ending.

Tears Of Kali is a uniquely inventive horror movie that demands a lot from its audience. The gore is absolutely up front and at times extremely difficult to sit through and the overall structure demands more attention than most films of this type. However, if you want something different, and you can stomach it, then this is for you.

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