Lower Austria in the 18th century. Two young women, a forbidden love and a sense of guilt that visits them in the shape of a monster. THE SINFUL WOMEN OF HÖLLFALL is a short film based on an Austrian legend about maids and monsters that we ourselves create, out of guilt and guilt feelings that oppress us at night, and about the freedom of love.
Directors: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala I Screenplay: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala I Camera: Martin Gschlacht I Editor: Christoph Brunner I Sound recorder: Klaus Kellermann I Music: Wolfgang Mitterer I Sound design: Matz Müller, Michael Pöderl I Art director: Vesna Muhr I Costumes: Tanja Hausner I Line producer: Georg Aschauer I Production manager: Teresa Saija Wieser I Production assistent: Antonia Bernkopf I Producers: Ulrich Seidl, Tim League, Ant Timpson I Cast: Marlene Hauser, Luzia Oppermann, Birgit Minichmayr
„I spoke to many people who said the first entry into the collection was their favorite, and I can definitely see why. Sinful Women is everything that this collection should be; rooted in deep cultural folklore but given a new, horrifying narrative.“
Grant DeArmitt, Nightmare on Film Street
„The film actually opens with its best short segment, a stylistic choice which may have been to its detriment. “The Sinful Women of Höllfall” by Austrian filmmakers Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz establishes itself as understated and slow-paced but incredibly fascinating. Fiala and Franz expertly and patiently guide their audience using beautiful static shots and subtle sound design to craft suspense. Marlene Hauser does well as the lead, Kathi, but Luzia Opperman absolutely captivates the viewer as the siren-esque Valerie, who tempts Kathi despite the disapproval of their small woodland village. I quite honestly could have enjoyed a feature-length version of just this segment, with all its poise and nuance.“
Jacquoi Griffin, Film Inquiry
„It's just that the anthology quite possibly peaks with its first entry, and even some of the better ones that follow never quite live up to how smart and thrilling that one is."
"That first one is Severin Fiala & Veronika Franz's "The Sinful Women of Hollfall", a take on an Austrian myth that at least seems to subvert its folkloric roots while still cranking up some tension. It follows Kathi, a young woman (Marlene Hauser) who witnesses another drawing blood so that she can at least temporarily hide her pregnancy by showing stained undergarments when the village women do their laundry; they grow closer, a danger in itself, as Kathi's mother warns that it will draw The Trud out of the woods. Franz & Fiala engage with what makes this fable frightening on a gut level, but also find ways to interrogate and question it, recognizing both its original intent but also the power myth has over a community itself, and how one can fight those forces.“
Jay Seaver, EFilmcritic.com
„Franz and Fiala’s elegant opening segment, “The Sinful Women of Höllfall”, is lushly shot and quietly thought-provoking, the story of two women in a pious, forest community whose lust for one another constitutes a cardinal sin in the eyes of the other women – one that could bring an ancient force known as the Trud down on their heads."
"There’s a purity to the directors’ envisioning of the characters forbidden dynamic that makes the eventual arrival of said evil all the more chilling; layered yet organic performances from Marlene Hauser and Luzia Oppermann (both young stars in the making) further sell the proceedings, which ratchet tension up to unbearable levels only to cap off with a wonderful sting in the tail. Easily one of the best shorts in recent horror memory, it’s also a standout in this terror trove.“
Isaac Feldberg, CutPrintFilm
a film by Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala