The Film (4/5)
When Jorg Buttgereit's Nekromantik was released to the world in 1987 it shocked even the most hardened cinemagoers . It was a disturbing piece of cinema, made more so by it's bridging of arthouse techniques with that of found footage, and grindhouse aesthetics. Buttgereit would follow up Nekromantik with the 1990 film Der Todesking, and then he made Nekromantik 2 which sealed his fate from a film standpoint as an underground auteur for life.
From the perspective of the horror community Nekromantik 2 has always been considered the lesser of the 2 Nekromantik films. While the first film concentrated on a mix of shocks, and setting a bleak tone and atmosphere. Nekromantik 2 goes in a bit of a different direction. The film is essentially the story of a nurse Monika (played by Monika M.), who is trying to come to terms with her sexuality. The first Nekromantik was more straightforward in it's approach man finds corpse, brings it home to his girlfriend, and they have a sexual tryst with it. The woman then finds that she prefers the corpse to the man and leaves him for the corpse. Nekromantik 2 picks up soon after the first Nekromantik with Monika digging up the remains of Rob the first film's protagonist. She takes him home, and attempts to have sexual relations with him, but this doesn't go well, and she begins to feel ill. To combat these newly developing feelings she begins a relationship with Mark, a voice over artist who works dubbing porno films into German. Their relationship starts out on a semi-typical footing until Monika's necrophile urges begin to rise to the surface more, and brings her into conflict with Mark who is not completely into her lifestyle.
The film early in it’s earliest portions focuses on the bourgeoning relationship between Mark and Monika, and feels like a more soft-focus relationship drama. Where as the original Nekromantik was more of shock cinema, Buttgereit uses more of a standard drama approach to bring a more standard cinematic feel to Nekromantik 2. Due to a more subtle hand in the direction, and a more carefully constructed narrative many fans looking for piles of gore might be disappointed early on in the film. However, the use of these techniques makes the latter portions infinitely more disturbing.
The film is grounded by an excellent performance by Monika M., who brings her character to life with a strong emotional dynamic, and offers a deep performance well suited to the material. She also contributes to the film's score which also sees work by John Boy Walton and Herman Kopp. The score adds an element of sadness, and oddly also one of impending doom. Buttgereit's Nekromantik 2 certainly charts a different course from the first film in the sequence, and yet when watched in conjunction they still manage to feel like 2 parts of the same perverse delirious whole.
Cult Epics presents Jorg Buttgereit's Nekromantik 2 in a positively stunning 1:33:1 HD transfer taken from the director's own 16mm negative. The film has excellent detail, and very natural colors, it is also quite grainy which is a product of it's source giving the whole film a nice film like presentation. There is damage from the source material, some scratching a few lines here and there, but overall this is quite pleasing to the eye, and the absolute best Nekromantik 2 has ever looked.
The audio is presented in it's native German with dialogue, effects, and the film's score coming through quite nicely. I did not detect any issues with the audio during my playthrough.
Cult Epics have packed their release of Nekromantik 2 full of extras. The film kicks off with a short introduction by Buttgereit himself, we also have a cast and crew commentary. This is followed by The Making of Nekromantik 2, a 20th Anniversary concert by Monika M. and friends the film's score, the film's score performed live. A short film by Buttgereit entitled A Moment of Silence at the Grave of Ed Gein, a music video by Half Girl directed by Jorg Buttgereit entitled Lemmy, I'm a Feminist, and a series of trailers for other Jorg Buttgereit films.
Nekromantik 2 is a bizarre, sad, and intense experience. The film combines elements of Grindhouse horror with arthouse drama to create something truly distinct. The A/V restoration by Cult Epics looks and sound fantastic, and the release can be recommended on that alone, however, the immense slate of extras really push this over the top. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.