THE DEVIL’S BATH on Shudder is a new horror psychodrama that plays out in Austria in the 18th century. Based on true stories which makes it hit you much harder. Read our full The Devil’s Bath movie review here!

THE DEVIL’S BATH is out in theaters and will be a Shudder one week later. While it’s crazy to imagine, the story told in this Austrian movie (org. title: Des Teufel Bad) is based on a true story. Or rather, more than 400 accounts of the same event.

This is a horror psychodrama and yes, it may be slow-burn, but it hits hard and stays with you. It takes place in Austria in the 18th century and there isn’t much dialogue, so don’t worry about the language. From the filmmakers that gave us Goodnight Mommy and The Lodge.

Continue reading our The Devil’s Bath movie review below. Find it in theaters from June 21, and on Shudder from June 28, 2024.

Take away hope and people give up

The story told in The Devil’s Bath takes place in 1750 in Austria. We meet Agnes (Anja Plaschg) who is a deeply religious woman. She loves nature and can marvel at insects and plants, but the world doesn’t leave much room for creativity or happiness.

Agnes marries her beloved and believes her life is about to truly begin. That she will soon bear a child and have days of happiness and laughter. Instead, her mind and heart are constantly darkened by the long list of chores and expectations thrown at her.


The “Devil’s Bath” is essentially being trapped in a state of melancholia. With today’s terminology, it would most likely be called a depression.

Her spouse is too tired to even be a husband, so a child isn’t coming anytime soon, and their home is a dark and murky place. To be fair, her husband does truly love her, but he too is trapped in a world where hard work and traditional ways are mandatory.

As a European, I found the core story of what Agnes (and many other women before and after her) does, absolutely shocking. Yet I’m not all that surprised that I’d never heard of it before. We like to see ourselves as being more “refined” than that, I suppose.

But if we don’t understand and learn from the past, then we are doomed to repeat it. In a world, where people need drugs (of the prescriptive or street-bought variety) to make it through the day, we’d do well to take this story in.

The Devil's Bath – Review | Horror Psychodrama on Shudder

Based on true events

Far too often, the “Based on true events” or “Inspired by a true story”-descriptor is used when only a tiny bit of the truth makes its way to the actual movie. Well, for The Devil’s Bath, it’s almost the opposite.

*Please note, minor spoilers may occur below*

The story of Agnes (portrayed mind-blowingly well by Anja Plaschg) is based directly on more than 400 accounts of the same events. Oh, and these 400+ accounts are from German-speaking countries alone

All in the name of religion, as is too often the case. Women trapped in a life they cannot endure any longer find an escape in a world where suicide isn’t an option. Well, it is obviously a physical option, but their religion bans it.

So, instead of taking their own lives and dying without absolution and forgiveness of their sins, a loophole was discovered. They kill a child – which by their religious logic is without sin and will go to heaven, so it isn’t all bad – and then confess immediately.

The result is that they’re arrested and sentenced to death. However, before the execution, they get to talk to a priest, who they can confess to and be absolved of their sins. Now they can die and go to heaven. Basically, the original form of “suicide by cop”.

Watch The Devil’s Bath on Shudder or in theaters

The Devil’s Bath (org. title: Des Teufels Bad) comes from the Austrian filmmaker duo Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz. If you’ve watched either Goodnight Mommy (org. title: Ich seh, Ich seh) or The Lodge, you’ll have some notion of what to expect.

Also, they made two episodes of Servant – including the series finale!

They tend to create extremely character-driven stories where melancholy and some sort of trauma are a driving force. Also, they do not hold back when it comes to their characters being multi-faceted.


To check out our review of the US remake of Goodnight Mommy >

One moment, most can relate, the next they do something extreme that much fewer can relate to. Still, these characters are just exhibiting various parts of human nature. If there’s one thing I expect from movies by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, it’s that they stay with me.

Well, I don’t imagine The Devil’s Bath will loosen its grip on me anytime soon. In fact, I fear the next time I see a thorny branch of some sort. I suspect flashbacks from one particular scene will slither into my mind and appear on my inner silver screen again and again.

The Devil’s Bath is in theaters from June 21, and on Shudder on June 28, 2024.


Directors: Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala
Writers: Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala
Cast: Anja Plaschg, David Scheid, Maria Hofstätter


In 1750 Austria, a deeply religious woman named Agnes has just married her beloved, but her mind and heart soon grow heavy as her life becomes a long list of chores and expectations. Day after day, she is increasingly trapped in a murky and lonely path leading to evil thoughts, until the possibility of committing a shocking act of violence seems like the only way out of her inner prison. Giving a voice to the invisible and unheard women of the rural past; THE DEVIL’S BATH is based on historical court records about a shocking, hitherto unexplored chapter of European history.

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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