Horror movies have a reputation for not maintaining their fidelity to human psychology. Often, too much emphasis is placed on the cliche moments of the genre, and the performances usually suffer as a result. Surprisingly, Kinderfanger, the new movie by Bridger Nielson, boasts a bravura performance by Angel Theory, considering the rigid confines of the genre. Actually, the movie is a stitched-up version of a 10-episode series released in 2020, and with its decent plot and rich performances, Kinderfanger delivers a more than satisfying horror experience. .
The story revolves around a hard-of-hearing music teacher named Olivia, who teaches her students, who also have hearing impairments. Living with her overbearing mother, she is subdued and almost always conforms to her mother’s wishes. When Marcus, a young kid from her school, disappears, and she takes it upon herself to look for him. Soon she discovers that Marcus and several other missing kids are being trapped by a mythical monster named ‘The Piper’. She, along with Wallace, who lost his brother to the Piper years ago, must save the kids to prevent further bloodshed while dealing with her own past.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Kinderfanger’?
Olivia, a young, empathetic woman, teaches kids music at a music school run by her and her friend Tracy. She uses a cochlear implant, as something happened in her past that made her lose almost all of her hearing. Her favorite student is a kid named Marcus, but for a couple of days, he has not shown up at school. Troubled by the increasing number of disappearances in the area, she asks Tracy for help. Tracy assures her that Marcus is fine and will turn up in some time, but Olivia’s intuition suggests otherwise. She prints fliers and pastes them all over town, and she also goes to look into Marcus’s favorite playground. When she met him last, he had bruises on his arms, which he had simply covered up, saying he got them while playing in the park.
Meanwhile, a man named Wallace sees the fliers and keeps them in his book that contains esoteric knowledge about a German legend about a creature known as Kinderfanger. Simply known as ‘The Piper’ around the world, the creature used his flute to play a tune and hypnotize the kids to follow him. Olivia, wandering about in the park, sees ‘The Piper,’ a shroud-clad monster, and is terrified. She didn’t yet know that the monster was preying on troubled kids with a disturbing childhood and using his special tune to hypnotize them and make them kill their parents.
How Does Olivia Find Out The Origins Of The Monster?
Olivia, too, had a disturbing childhood. Living with her overbearing mother, she couldn’t express herself freely. Her only support was Tracy, but she, too, was soon about to die. Olivia is terrified of what she saw in the park, and when she returns to her music school, she finds Wallace there, looking for CCTV footage and trying to locate Marcus’s whereabouts. Why was he interested in Marcus, though? It’s because he knew that it could be another one of the Piper’s abductions. Wallace lost his brother to the Piper 15 years ago, and since then, he has collected every piece of information he could get his hands on to locate and finish the Piper. He had compiled a book containing information about the monster, which he leaves at Olivia’s school, and she gets her hands on it.
She reads the book and discovers that the monster she saw in the park was The Piper and that he was using the kids to cause bloodshed. His special tune hypnotized troubled kids, and they couldn’t resist following him into the lair. Marcus, too, could have been lured in a similar fashion. Olivia knew she needed Wallace’s help, and he soon came looking for his book. She insists on knowing more about The Piper, but Wallace isn’t interested until she tells him that she saw the monster in the park.
Why Is Olivia Affected By Piper’s Tune?
Wallace’s plan was to find and kill the monster. He didn’t, however, know his exact location. When Olivia tells him about Piper’s lair, Wallace becomes attentive for the first time. He agrees to accompany her to see where she might lead him. They both end up in Marcus’s favorite park, and Olivia shows Wallace the entrance to the lair. Olivia didn’t know that her friend Tracy had come following one of Piper’s kids and had been killed inside the lair.
Wallace sees a possessed girl at the lair’s entrance as if guarding it. Before he could warn Olivia, she started to hear Piper’s flute and started feeling a pain she had never felt before, although Wallace couldn’t hear the tune. As it turns out, Piper’s mysterious tune could be heard only by people who had a disturbing childhood. Marcus was an orphan, and he had a tough childhood. But Olivia was a talented and empathic young woman, and yet she could hear the tune and suffered intense pain even after removing her hearing device. The reason was that she had been sexually assaulted by her grandfather and lost her hearing in the incident. She hadn’t had a good relationship with her mother ever since, and soon the turbulent mother-daughter relationship resulted in the creation of a new monster.
‘Kinderfanger’ Ending Explained: How Does Olivia Become The New ‘Kinderfanger’?
It is often discussed in psychology how monsters are created by their intensely disturbing childhoods. Neglectful, overbearing, or blaming parents often lay the foundation for the kid to grow into becoming a terrifying figure, which is what happens to Olivia. She tries hard to conform to her tyrant mother’s commands but keeps disappointing her at every step. It has been the case since the very beginning. When she got sexually assaulted by her grandfather, Olivia told her mother about the heinous crime, but instead of receiving protection against the grandfather, her mother didn’t believe her and started to blame her for being an insolent little brat. The assaults continue, and she loses her hearing in one of the incidents. Her mother started to call her the devil herself for what she did afterward. Olivia managed to get hold of a paper cutter and stab her grandfather when he tried to have his way with her one more time.
Olivia was raised in such a manner by her mother so as to feel guilty of defending herself for the rest of her life. Now, when she was a mature woman, her mother treated her like she was the worst person to have ever walked the earth. An abomination to her mother, Olivia started to believe it somewhere, which is why she never fought back, but the confrontation with The Piper made her courageous. Her mother infuriated her to no end when she tore up the official papers that would have made Olivia Marcus’s legal guardian. Her mother taunted her for even thinking about motherhood, and when Olivia returns with Marcus after killing The Piper, the angst and rage in her heart towards her mother explodes.
Olivia had managed to stab The Piper with Wallace’s help. She had finally taken Marcus out of the lair, but unfortunately, before dying, The Piper managed to stab Olivia with his flute. The germ had started to grow in Olivia as well. Up until now, she had managed to subdue her rage by focusing on her teaching career, but with the monster’s blood flowing in her veins, she couldn’t hold it together any longer and killed her mother. Unable to deal with her painful past, Olivia fully transforms into the new Kinderfanger with her own flute. Wallace, helpless, could only see her take the kids back into the lair, carrying on with the previous Piper’s mission: to make the kids kill their parents and guardians. In the end, Wallace finally sees his missing brother Avery and makes a note of the new Kinderfanger in his book, resolving to kill Olivia and save his brother.
Kinderfanger is a 2023 horror thriller film directed by Bridger Nielson.