FAMILY DINNER is a new horror movie from Austria. It’s quite the experience and not one you’ll forget right away. A small cast keeps you engaged and intrigued. Also, it offers up a mystery that keeps you guessing. Read our full Family Dinner movie review here!
FAMILY DINNER is a new horror movie from Austria. The core cast consists of just four people, but you will not be bored in any way. Especially because everyone – except for the main protagonist – is a mystery in their own way. A creepy mystery, on top of that.
The title almost reveals that food and family are at the heart of this story. We saw this recently in the movie A Banquet as well, which isn’t a bad reference for this one. Though the two are very different movies.
Continue reading our Family Dinner movie review below. The movie just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Such a small cast
In Family Dinner, we only really see four people. Aside from these four people, there is a creepy setting and lots of folklore on the side, to create an awesome backdrop for the story. There is a huge mystery that revolves around the fact that almost everything taking place at aunt Claudia’s house is creepy and/or just plain weird.
Young Simi has gone to her Aunt’s house for the Easter weekend. There, she is hoping her Aunt Claudia (Pia Hierzegger) will help her lose weight. Being a nutritionist who’s written best-selling health books, Simi figures it’s the perfect way to get started on a healthier lifestyle.
However, everything is off to a bad start for Simi in that regard. And when things change, they change in ways she could have never imagined.
Also living in the country house with Aunt Claudia is her son, Simi’s cousin, Filipp (Alexander Sladek). He is extremely hostile towards Simi and seems almost scared of both his mom and new stepdad. The stepdad, Stefan (Michael Pink), really isn’t kind towards Filipp, but he is very open and sweet with Simi. And not in a creepy way!
Of course, the weird family dynamic is just one piece of the puzzle in this mystery. You’ll probably have an idea of where this is all going towards the end. Still, the ending is very brutal. Very!
Nina Katlein is a revelation!
The absolute star of Family Dinner is Nina Katlein, who plays the 15-year-old Simi. She’s tired of being overweight and wants to do something about it. However, Simi is also very much aware that she is in charge of her body. Nobody else is trying to get her to lose weight.
In fact, her mother (and others around her) are clearly doing everything to show her love and support her just the way she is. It’s important for this story to not be about fat shaming or about the power of change through weight loss.
In one instance, it also opens up a perfect opportunity for Simi to say that she doesn’t need anybody to tell her how to feel about her body. It’s her body and her choice. Everyone else can keep their opinions to themselves – even when they are meant to support.
Nina Katlein is a revelation as the strong-minded young Simi, who sets her mind to something and goes for it. Also, it’s damn brave for anyone to play such a vulnerable young character. Especially since this is a horror movie and you just know she’ll be going through something out of the ordinary.
Watch Family Dinner when you get the chance!
Peter Hengl is the writer and director of Family Dinner which avoids all the obvious traps when dealing with weight issues, family relations, and the way society works as a whole. Yeah, it’s a lot but it does work really well.
This is the feature film debut for Peter Hengl as a director, but I am already looking forward to whatever he comes up with next. Family Dinner is a grotesque and creepy story, but there is also a lot of heart in this story. With a very well-written teen girl at the center of it all.
For me, Family Dinner did have the potential to be even better, but it could also very easily have gone down a dangerous path. When dealing with weight issues, there are many areas that can come across as wrong (or simply be wrong). This was avoided in this film which is ultimately a horror movie with a lore-like story.
I was intrigued and engaged from start to finish, which clearly makes for a strong recommendation from us.
FAMILY DINNER had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2022.
Director: Peter Hengl
Writer: Peter Hengl
Cast: Pia Hierzegger, Nina Katlein, Michael Pink, Alexander Sladek
Overweight and insecure, Simi spends Easter weekend with her famous nutritionist aunt. The hope is that it’ll help her get on a healthier track, but as the aunt’s family’s icy dynamics and an increasingly malevolent atmosphere leave Simi feeling uneasy, weight isn’t the only thing she’s about to lose.