Amsterdamned ★★½

Somewhere between Giallo and slasher, but what differentiates this from other such hybrid ventures is its unique setting. Of course many other slasher films have been set within modern cities, but few have the architecture of a city such as Amsterdam. Whilst the film is formulaic, predictable and familiar in terms of plot and story the distinct design of Amsterdam ensures the film has a different and sometimes unusual ambience.

The decision to lean closer to the conventions of Giallo rather than the slasher film mean that the film is intent on deceiving the audience, to provide misinformation and misdirection until a climactic reveal. Unfortunately there are so many red herrings that it begins to feel somewhat ineffective, and the actual plot feels muddled and incomplete. But its a film comprised of several exciting and flamboyant moments, rather than a steady stream of anticipation and eagerness. The aerial shots of Amsterdam, and the Jaws-esque POV shots within the cities canals are just enough to carry the interest through the dull expository scenes in between.

These POV shots tease with ideas of voyeurism, which seems pretty on point for a city with a reputation like Amsterdam. There is a murky unknown to the city, beneath the canal cruises and amidst the plastic tulips, a concealed threat. It's a feeling that doesn't exist in reality - but the neat cinematography, the partially obscured perspectives and the glimpses of shapes and shadows go a long way to instilling this pensive uncertainty to the city.

The depiction of the city is by far the most interesting element of the film. A genuine spatial awareness bleeds through the screen, the canals feeling like some submerged maze beneath the tourist-infected alleys - it presents us with two distinct spaces at once. The safe and secure streets and the deep and dangerous canals. The killer emerging from those depths to stain and taunt the sanctity of the streets. It's always interesting to see such an iconic city through a new filter, and whilst it doesn't quite achieve all it sets out to, it remains a satisfying experience.

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