WOMAN OF THE DEAD on Netflix is a new thriller series from Austria (org. title: Totenfrau). There are six episodes and you will definitely want to binge-watch this one. This is the first great series of the new year! Read our full Woman of the Dead series review here!
WOMAN OF THE DEAD is a new Netflix thriller, crime, and mystery series from Austria (org. title: Totenfrau). The language is German, but the main plot driver is revenge and that is a very international language. Trust me when I say that this Austrian Netflix series is full of surprises and packs one hell of a punch from the very first episodes.
There are six episodes in the series, and we’ve watched them all for this review. We simply could not stop because this is one insanely binge-worthy series. This is the first great series of 2023 and I hope people will give this one a shot because it is amazing. Especially thanks to the main character and the woman portraying her.
Continue reading our spoiler-free Woman of the Dead series review below. Find it on Netflix from January 5, 2023.
A brilliant female-driven revenge story!
Many people die (or rather, they are murdered) in Woman of the Dead, where our leading lady – who has her own undertaker business – lives up to the title in many different ways. She is responsible for most of them, but in a straight-up Dexter Morgan style, her victims really do deserve what’s coming.
While 2022 also ended with a revenge-based series being released on Netflix, this first revenge series of 2023 is a lot quicker to exert her revenge. Having said that, do check out the South Korean The Glory on Netflix as well – in that one, vengeance is planned for decades before being executed. In Woman of the Dead, it all happens in weeks.
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Having the main character own a funeral parlor and work as a mortician (or funeral director or undertaker, take your pick of titles) is a brilliant detail. In that sense, it reminded me a bit of the horror series Post-Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes. Without any of the other details from that Norwegian series.
Though she does speak with whoever lands on her slab. After they’ve expired that is, which does have its own brand of dark comedy. It’s her own therapy of a sort. You’ll see!
Characters with flaws are real!
The story of Woman of the Dead (or Totenfrau, which is an even cooler title) is all about Blum. Her full name is Brünhilde Blum, but nobody uses her first name. She’s the owner of a funeral home in an area known for its idyllic ski resort. She’s also the mother of two young children, who are shaken to the core by the violent death of her husband.
She witnesses the supposed accident (which is a wild scene that shook me as well) and soon realizes that it was no accident. He was murdered in order to hide terrible secrets that he was about to expose. The police aren’t much help – despite her deceased husband being a police officer himself.
That means it’s up to her, so she sets out on a vendetta of biblical proportions. To be fair, much of what Blum (Anna Maria Mühe) ends up doing is in self-defense. She discovers some huge secrets and when someone threatens her, she is quick to defend herself.
The hunter becomes the hunted, but those she is chasing, grossly underestimate Blum. Much in the style of South Korean stories, Woman of the Dead is full of flawed and realistic characters. And this definitely goes for Blum as well, which makes the story work so much better.
Anna Maria Mühe is perfect as Blum
Blum is often unlikable when she forgets to appreciate those who care for her – or focus on her kids, who also lost their father. But this is exactly why she comes across as a real person. Not some action movie or comic book vendetta character. This is not that kind of story!
As Blum, we see Anna Maria Mühe (the Netflix series Dogs of Berlin) deliver a strong and intense performance. She is flawed and brilliant, and terrible and utterly realistic in how she reacts. Okay, most people wouldn’t kill, but rather “just” try to survive when in danger. However, you have to remember that she is out for revenge.
The entire cast of this Netflix series is actually very strong. If it wasn’t, then it wouldn’t work as a whole and it most certainly does. I especially liked Yousef Sweid (Unorthodox) as Reza, who helps at the funeral home, and Romina Küper. She plays Dunja, a young woman trafficked to Austria by people with very cruel intentions.
Watch Woman of the Dead on Netflix!
Woman of the Dead is based on the female-driven revenge novel “Totenfrau” by Bernhard Aichner. The adaption into this Netflix series comes from Barbara Stepansky (Outlander) and Wolfgang Mueller & Benito Mueller. The two latter have produced more than written in the past. Production credits include The Whistleblower (2010) and Das Boot series.
Nicolai Rohde is the director of all six episodes and he has an impressive experience from various thriller and crime series. He also wrote on episodes of the series as did Mike Majzen.
If you’ve watched any of the acclaimed and popular genre productions out of Austria in recent years, you’ll know to expect high production quality. Woman of the Dead is no exception and yet I was surprised by just how good and brave it was in the way this story was told. And shown!
You’ll see the lengths someone will go to for vengeance, and it does become a tug-of-war between good and evil for our main character. But it never becomes unrealistic. Not to me, in any case. Prepare to want to binge-watch all six 45-minute episodes. You’re in for one very wild and deadly ride. Even the intro is gorgeous!
Woman of the Dead (Totenfrau) premieres on Netflix globally on January 5, 2023.
Director: Nicolai Rohde
Cast: Anna Maria Mühe, Felix Klare, Yousef Sweid, Shenja Lacher, Robert Palfrader, Simon Schwarz, Gregor Bloéb, Michou Friesz, Gerhard Liebmann, Hans Uwe Bauer, Sebastian Hülk, Andrea Wenzl, Wolfram Koch, Britta Hammelstein, Peter Kurth
In a vengeful quest to find out who killed her husband, a woman ends up exposing her small community’s deepest and ugliest secrets.