The Columnist: Film Review

The Columnist

A journalist gets bloody revenge on trolls in this deliciously dark satirical horror starring Westworld actress Katja Herbers.

In this Dutch comedy-horror, Herbers plays Femke Boot, a newspaper columnist suffering from writers’ block, which isn’t helped by her constantly reading the vitriol and death threats she receives on social media and in the comments under her columns or her neighbour’s incessant DIY work. One day, she discovers said neighbour is one of the anonymous people writing such awful comments and takes matters into her own hands. Her act of revenge does wonders for her writers’ block, giving her a new lease of inspiration, and so she continues to track down the trolls and get her own back.

I really enjoyed how the story developed and the evolution of the lead character. She begins as this cool mum and fairly normal journalist who is writing a book about what’s wrong with society and just wants people to be kind to those with different opinions but then she becomes obsessed with her quest for vengeance and gets careless, sloppy, and trigger happy and starts to prioritise targeting trolls over spending time with her daughter Anna (Claire Porro) and her boyfriend, fellow author Steven Death (Bram van der Kelen). Once she’s had a taste of killing, she just can’t stop and is constantly spending time online trying to figure out the identity of a troll and where they live instead of actually working.

At only 86 minutes, The Columnist whips along at a snappy pace and although the ending looked very cool, I would have liked perhaps another five minutes as an epilogue just to wrap it up a bit more. But that’s my only complaint.

Herbers is terrific in this role and it was amusing seeing how chill and nonchalant Femke is when carrying out the murders; she seems completely unaffected by it. Van der Kelen had an intriguing steampunk-like look, with black nail polish and lots of jewellery, and it was interesting seeing how he was actually the normal, nice one, when if you judged the couple by the exterior, you would think she was. Porro was funny as Anna, an outspoken freedom of speech campaigner at her school.

The Columnist feels very timely and relevant today, given how prevalent cyberbullying is, and I liked the concept, Herbers, the amount of gore, and its slick pace. Thumbs up!

Available on digital platforms from Friday 12th March

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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