Written and directed by Steffen Geypens, when a logger discovers a brutally mutilated body in the forest, he goes into a catatonic state and gets the unexpected help of Death herself. Starring: Jurgen Delnaet, Pieter Piron, Mona Lahousse, Maya Sannen and Mil Sinaeve.
Telling a story in a non-linear way has become hugely common and that’s because when it’s done right, it can add layers to simple stories. The way that Steffen Geypens uses it in Logger feels like being given a puzzle, you know what the final picture will be but you’ve got to put the pieces back to together to fully understand it. It brings through a good sense of mystery and mistrust, it’s working with a brief runtime of just over an hour so pacing certainly isn’t an issue. Although that simplicity is hard for it to escape, it’s great to see the evolution of how the characters arrived at this grisly moment but realistically it isn’t achieving a lot of progress. Especially when there’s such a limited use of dialogue.
Geypens’ style leans towards the artistic and slightly metaphorical, particularly in how it brings a larger picture of death into the story. In a lot of ways that works, it brings through a lot of the darkness to its story without becoming heavy. The violence is undoubtedly present but not overused, it comes through with an intensity but adds to the story rather than distracting from it. However, as time goes on a few different recurring problems crop up, the key one being its use of slow-motion which feels unnecessary in most instances. Coupled with the fact that Geypens has a tendency to also linger on the shot longer than he needs to, means that you’re getting a lot of hesitancy that dulls the sharpness that it’s attempting to build.
The way that the film moves feels like there’s no particular focus on any singular character, it’s more centred around the events that unfold. Our titular logger, played by Pieter Piron, doesn’t really get too involved but he sets that opening tone of fear, confusion and disgust very well. Mil Sinaeve pushes that atmosphere even further with a naivety and panic. Mona Lahousse brings death to life with the classic sinister grace, holding all sorts of violent, maniacal potential but forever calm. Jurgen Delnaet and Maya Sannen give the audience an outsider perspective to follow the story, they have no idea what they’re walking into and their such different reactions to the situation add another layer of intrigue.
Logger feels like an artistic horror twist on a Scandinavian crime thriller from Belgian filmmaker Steffen Geypens. It’s violent and intense but also an unravelling, unusual mystery. Although it does rely too much on slow-motion which takes away from keeping up that intensity. There’s a solid cast at work who all bring through the darkness to this story and visually it works well to embrace the natural setting alongside its darkness, using the isolation to enhance the atmosphere. Yet with a short runtime and some hesitancy in its movement, it lacks the extra bite of confidence or unexpectedness to take it further.