The Devil’s Bath Review – IGN

The Devil’s Bath: A Dark Journey Into History

The latest film from Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz, The Devil’s Bath, delves into the darkest realms of historical obscurity. Known for their bleak and disturbing storytelling, the Austrian duo once again pushes boundaries with a narrative that shocks and mesmerizes viewers.

The film explores the concept of “suicide by proxy,” a little-known phenomenon in early modern Europe where individuals, primarily women, sought loopholes in Catholic morality to escape the torment of life. Fiala and Franz cleverly weave this historical backdrop into a harrowing tale of despair and defiance.

The Unforgivable Sin and Desperate Choices

Without revealing too much of the plot, The Devil’s Bath challenges the audience to contemplate the unfathomable choices faced by its characters. The narrative serves as a critique of the absolute control exerted by religious institutions, while also shedding light on the enduring societal pressures that drive individuals to their breaking points.

By incorporating real historical locations and drawing inspiration from authentic court records, the filmmakers add a layer of authenticity to the story. Protagonist Agnes, portrayed brilliantly by Anja Plaschg, embodies the struggles of women in a rigid society where expectations often outweigh compassion.

A Cinematic Dive Into Darkness

The Devil’s Bath immerses audiences in a world devoid of comic relief or respite. The haunting musical score by Soap&Skin and the atmospheric cinematography by Martin Gschlacht create a chilling ambiance that lingers long after the credits roll.

The film underscores the morbid fascination with death prevalent in 18th-century Europe, intertwining macabre beliefs and practices with a narrative that is as unsettling as it is compelling. Gory visuals and themes of decay may prove too intense for some viewers, but for those intrigued by history’s grim realities, The Devil’s Bath offers a gripping exploration.

The Devil’s Bath is not a simple anti-religion screed.

Despite its grim subject matter, the film offers a cathartic release through a powerful monologue that resonates with authenticity. Plaschg’s poignant portrayal of Agnes invites viewers to confront the dark truths of human suffering and resilience, blurring the lines between fiction and historical fact.