Hausen, the horror series that transforms a building into a collective nightmare

Hausen, the horror series that transforms a building into a collective nightmare


A decrepit building, populated by tenants devoured by madness. Little originality, but a lot of evocation and genuinely gloomy atmospheres in this European production, on Sky ATlantic and Now Tv from February 20

Hausen, from February 20 on Sky Atlantic and Now Tv, is one of the most recent original productions of the European TV platform for a fee, the first of the horror genre and German authorship. The subject is inspired by the childhood of the author, Til Kleinert, who in 1984 went to live with his mother in a huge building in East Berlin. Hausen - which seems to be set in that period (but the time frame is more recent, expenses, for example, are paid in euros) - begins when the teenager Juri and his father Jaschek move, shortly after the death of the boy's mother - in a gigantic and dilapidated condominium that seems to feed on the desperation of the tenants. The transfer is inaugurated by an ominous meeting between Juri and a homeless man who warns him about the mysteries of the house, and shortly after Jaschek, hired as maintenance of the building, realizes that in the pipes - the "veins" of the building - a creepy and insidious dark slime builds up.

The tenants split into outcasts like Cleo and Scherbe, two very poor young men who haven't even given their newborn a name and live in squalor and destitution, proud little families to flaunt a bourgeois, religious and perfect facade like that of Bjorn or ridiculously sophisticated and perverse couples like the two lovers of Bach's music. Everyone feeds the house with their own sufferings, hardships, inadequacies, depression and despair, a sort of evil incubus that feeds on the moods of victims destined to lose their senses.

Hausen does not offer anything striking or unprecedented on the horror front, but the atmospheres recreated using more artisanal ("analog") special effects than CGI (often the enemy of the genre), are effective and suggestive: the faded family photographs surrounded by shattered frames, the peeling walls, the tumbling tapestry lend a gloomy climate of desolation, ruin and abandonment, yet intimate. The incessant dripping of leaking taps, the buzz of flickering light bulbs, the ever more feeble crying of the newborn, the sinister creaks that creep from the ventilation ducts are part of a simple but fruitful repertoire for the purposes of the show's horror apparatus .

Everything is designed to give an oppressive atmosphere to Hausen, starting with the choice of location - an abandoned hospital - whose square geometries and infinitely long corridors are transformed into labyrinthine meanders, hidden rooms and walls in which you can sink. The visual vocabulary of this Teutonic horror evokes that of Possession: for those who remember the controversial film with Isabelle Adjani set in Berlin, Hausen draws in a very, very sweetened version of that imaginary. At the center of everything is the house, a favorite place of the horror genre. Whether it is a private residence haunted by ghosts that terrorize the inhabitants (the various Poltergeists, Hill House, The Enfield Haunting ...), a residence capable of oppressing and influencing the weakest subjects to the point of turning them into murderers (the case of Amityville Horror ), a remote refuge scenario of millenary mystical phenomena (The house of Raimi), an institution owned by the evil one, or a crowded and dilapidated condominium scenario of atrocities (such as the Koreans Strangers From Hell or Sweet Home) remains the favorite kingdom of a genre that the authors of Hausen show they know how to deal with.

We can say little about the story without running into spoilers: however, the narration is suitably slow and unnerving, the revelations sipped to let the atmosphere and the examination of madness be characters to take over: from the visual and auditory hallucinations enhanced by the drug addiction of the young father Scherbe to the apparitions of children like the Shining to a bestiary of insane and monstrously bizarre individuals, Hausen looks like a foray into JG Ballard's nightmares packaged as the Kingdom - The Kingdom of Lars Von Trier.

The sense of alienation of atmospheres, the claustrophobia enhanced by the direction, indulging in the most hallucinating aspects of the paranormal and cruel lingering in the loneliness and anguish of the protagonists blend together to make Hausen a well-made psychological horror.

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