Written by Diane Tillis
Grimm Love is a thriller film based upon the true story of a cannibal and his willing meal. Graduate student Katie Armstrong (Keri Russell) is researching into cannibal Oliver Hartwin (Thomas Kretschmann) and his victim Simon Grombeck (Thomas Huber) as a part of her criminal psychology thesis. As she goes deeper into their tortured psyches, Katie begins to lose herself to her obsession to understand why. Grimm Love is a love story from hell. The men were attracted to each other as perfect opposites; Simon wanted to be eaten and Oliver was hungry. Their intense relationship would drive the two men carry out an unimaginable horror.
The film is very slow to build the intensity and suspense I would expect of a horror film. At times I was pretty bored, but I was still intrigued since the film is based upon a true story. The story is actually based upon the case of Armin “The Rohtenburg Cannibal” Meiwes (in Grimm Love this character’s name is Oliver) who placed an internet ad on a cannibal weblog searching for volunteers to slaughter and consume. Soon Bernd Jürgen Brandes (again Grimm Love changed this character’s name to Simon) responded with his desire to be consumed by another man. They created the perfect match.
Grimm Love follows Katie as she investigates into the men’s backgrounds. The audience gets to experience why each man grew up with these obsessions and how they profoundly affected their daily lives. The character of Katie is made up, although I am sure in the real world there have been plenty of people who have studied this horrific story. Katie acts as our guide: traveling to the men’s hometown, childhood schools, and talking to people who knew them before the incident. She begins to lose her composure as her obsession to understand increases towards the end of the film. Then her curiosity gets the better of her.
This film is not for those with a weak stomach. There are intense images of slaughtered animals, severed body parts, and the consumption of human flesh. These images are intense, but not gory. If you are uncomfortable with homosexual relationships, then you shouldn’t watch this film. The finale is filmed in such a way that we do not get to witness the consumption of Simon by Oliver first hand. Apparently Oliver recorded the entire cannibalistic act because he wanted to remember it like you remember a wedding. You understand what is happening due to Katie’s reaction to the recording. The cinematography is beautiful and matches the tone of the story perfectly. All the scenes are dark with only tints of color like blues or yellows.
I was more intrigued by the concept of this film than of the film itself. The film was a bit slow for me, and the intensity buildup left me wanting more. Maybe in a sick twisted way, I wanted to see the gory side of the story. Then again, I was also expecting a horror film!