DIE ONTWAKING is a new thriller on Netflix. The movie is from South Africa and the story is about a serial killer. Think Psycho meets Silence of the Lambs. Read more in our Die Ontwaking review here!

Die Ontwaking is a new thriller on Netflix. This serial killer story is based on a book and set in South Africa. This also means the movie is in Afrikaans. If you’ve watched the new Netflix horror series Ares, the language will sound very familiar. 

You might like: Our review of the Dutch Netflix horror series Ares here >

That series was Dutch and the Afrikaans language is still mostly Dutch though it has evolved from there. However, it’s weird to know that this thriller takes place in South Africa when you see a lot more black people in Ares which takes place in Europe. Apartheid may be over, but the effects still seem very much alive.

Continue reading our Die Ontwaking review below and check it out on Netflix.

Psycho meets Silence of the Lambs

 The actual plot of Die Ontwaking can best be described as Psycho meets Silence of the Lambs. You know, mommy issues combined with a desire for female skin. Though this is still very much its own story.

However, just like in Psycho, we meet and know the serial killer, Abel (Gys de Villiers), from the very beginning. Also, we know very early on (for a fact) that he is the serial killer. This is not a mystery about figuring out who did it. Rather, it’s all about following the police work to catch him.

And this is not a CSI type of deal. Police resources are limited and they struggle with looking at wrong suspects.

Just like in Silence of the Lambs, our lead investigator is a young woman, Ella (Juanita de Villiers), who needs to fight a lot of battles. Half of her male colleagues make it clear that they don’t think she has what it takes. Fortunately, others are helpful and positive.

One of them being a young black man, Jimmy (Bradley Olivier) who probably knows what she’s going through all too well.

Die Ontwaking (2015) – Netflix Review

The ending of Die Ontwaking

Look, since we know who the serial killer is from the beginning, the ending is not too surprising. However, there are probably elements that will irritate you — there certainly was for me! Mostly in terms of how the lead detective, Ella (Juanita de Villiers), is treated towards the Die Ontwaking ending.

What really makes the ending of Die Ontwaking work anyway, is the awesome actors. Especially Gys de Villiers as serial killer Abel. He is so weird and quirky as this character. He’s exactly the kind of guy you would suspect. However, he’s also the guy where you would say “Oh, he’s just weird, not dangerous!” 

But you would be very wrong!

Also, the very final scene in Die Ontwaking feels very appropriate, so I’m happy with it.

Watch Die Ontwaking on Netflix now!

Die Ontwaking is directed by Johnny Breedt who also wrote the screenplay based on a novel by Chris Karsten. This is the first time directing and writing for Johnny Breedt, which is quite impressive. Of course, this may have to do with the fact that Breedt has worked on a lot of movies in the past.

Johnny Breedt has been an Art Director and Production Designer on many movies. These include iconic genre movies such as The Last House on the Left (2009) and Chronicle (2012).

If you like a good serial killer thriller where the serial killer is truly quirky, weird, and creepy (not a charming man), then Die Ontwaking is well worth watching. It’s definitely entertaining and the runtime mark around an hour and a half is also a plus.

Die Ontwaking came out on Netflix in most countries on January 20, 2020. However, it was pulled shortly after and should be released again on January 24, 2020.


Director: Johnny Breedt
Cast: Gys de Villiers, Juanita de Villiers, Jaco Muller, Armand Aucamp, Bradley Olivier, Paul Eilers, Gérard Rudolf


An inexperienced murder detective joins a desperate search for a deranged serial killer who possesses a deep obsession with young women’s skin.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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