mad heidi | johannes hartmann | sandro klopfstein | gregory d. widmer | trent haaga | alice lucy | max rudlinger | casper van dien | exploitation | nazi | switzerland | action | adventure | comedy | fantasy | david schofield | kel matsena | almar g. soto | pascal ulli
Film: Mad Heidi
Director: Johannes Hartmann and Sandro Klopfstein
Writers: Sandro Klopfstein, Johannes Hartmann, Gregory D. Widmer and Trent Haaga
Starring: Alice Lucy, Max Rüdlinger and Casper Van Dien
This was a movie that I got the chance to see thanks to Justin Cook, when it was sent over as a screener. I believe that I saw someone else see this at a film festival. It might also be coming to one of the theaters that I visit on top of that. Regardless, I confirmed it was horror and that it looked wild for the bit that I read about it. That made me excited.
Synopsis: Swiss mountain girl Heidi (Alice Lucy) is abducted by brutal government troops and must defend herself and fight a war against a cheese-fueled machinery of hate.
We start this by getting a lay of the land. We are in Switzerland. People are protesting outside of the Meili's cheese factory. There are armed guards around it and it seems like this company may have a monopoly on cheese. The guards open fire and the credits fill the backstory. The president of the company gets elected to lead the country, President Meili (Casper Van Dien). We get a fun correlation to the Nazi party and things they did, just subbing in those that are lactose intolerant to the ones being rounded up and dealt with.
The movie then introduces us to our titular character, Heidi. She lives with her grandfather, Alpöhi (David Schofield). He worries about her because she is seeing Goat Peter (Kel Matsena). She believes that they're in love. There is a great scene where Goat Peter deals in illegal cheese made from the milk of his goats. This draws the attention of the government, getting him killed in front of Heidi.
She fights back. She tries to flee home on a motorcycle, but she is followed by Kommandant Knorr (Max Rüdlinger). He recognizes her grandfather. The old man's house explodes with him inside and Heidi is taken to prison. It is there that President Meili wants her prepped to fight in a tournament. This draws ire of Helvetia (Andrea Fischer-Schulhess) and others in the prison. Heidi has nothing left to lose and does what she can to flee prison, starting her rampage for revenge.
That is where I'm going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I am going to start is that this is a fun movie. It knows what it is doing. Something I wanted to point out was that before the movie started, the version I watched talked about how this was crowd funded solely. They were able to do things because of this. It also asks you to support, if you can, or at the least, not to pirate the movie. Does this affect what we see on the screen? Only in the fact that it wasn't held back by executives and I appreciate that.
With that disclaimer out there, this movie is credited as being a Swissploitation. Is it ever. They lean into the fact that this country makes good cheese. I like how we can explore Nazi or fascism and the evils of it by using something as safe as what we get here. I thought that was genius. That's not where this ends in paying homage. You can include Naziploitation. This is even a tamer 'women in prison' movie. I'd even say that we are getting a bit of a gladiator film as well with where things go. It feels like we have people here who have seen 'grindhouse' style films and are incorporating elements. I appreciate that.
To continue exploring the genres that this uses to work, another big one is comedy. This did make me laugh. Not all the jokes land though. The last genre then is the most important for me and that is horror. I don't know if it fully goes there. I know the excessive gore and blood that we see at times makes it flirt with it. There are zombies of sort at the end. That is something I wish they would use a bit more. Regardless though, I still enjoyed this despite going light on the horror.
There isn’t anything more to flesh out with the story so I’ll shift to the acting. Lucy is good here as our lead. She is cute so that fits when she is still innocent. With all the bad things that happen to her, she is hardened into this warrior. She also works there. Rüdlinger works as this villainous commandant. He feels like he’s the head of a secret police. He does this creepy laugh when bad things happen that adds another layer. Van Dien is good as our president. He isn’t too smart, but he is just smart enough. It feels like leaders we see in the United States. I like Schofield, Matsena, Almar G. Soto and the rest of the heroes. We also have other good villains like the mad doctor, Schwitzgebel who is played by Pascal Ulli. The rest of the cast works for what was needed.
All that is left is filmmaking. The first thing I want to say are the locations. I’m guessing there is CGI here. We are nestled right up to the Alps which is breathtaking. I think that the set pieces of the small village to the prison to the play where the gladiator like battles go down are spot on. No issues there. We get over the top practical and CGI effects. I don’t love the latter, but I think that it helps to showcase what can’t be done without computers. Overall, I was positive about what we got in this department. The last bit is with the music. I believe the soundtrack fits here as well.
In conclusion, this is a fun movie that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. What I will give them credit for is giving us tongue in cheek commentary that you can ignore or at the least, see the parallels they are drawing. The acting is good. Lucy leads the way there with her character growth, but we get good villains to push her there. This is well-made. Not all the effects are great. What they are working with though, is impressive. I’d recommend this to fans of grindhouse and exploitation cinema. You will see different things that this pays homage to.
My Rating: 7 out of 10