Aberrance // A SXSW Review

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We caught the world premiere of Aberrance at this year’s SXSW. Directed by Bataar Batsukh and co-written by Batsukh with Byambasuren Ganbat, it’s billed as Mongolia’s first horror film. Set in the picturesque wilds of Mongolia, an estranged couple arrives at a secluded cabin with only one neighbor in sight. Their puzzling behavior quickly draws the attention of their nosey neighbor, albeit with seemingly good intentions.

Erkhme and Selenge (Erkhembayar Ganbat, Selenge Chadraabal) are not the perfect couple, and what appears to be Erkhme’s caring and overbearing nature is seen as sinister and abusive on the part of his wife. Jumping right in, we’re left with our imaginations to run amok as we question what these two are doing in the middle of nowhere and whether or not Selenge has the freedom to go and do as she pleases.

With a runtime of only 85 minutes, the pacing makes for the perfect thriller, moving along seamlessly and progressing quickly. Excellent use of camerawork and sound really puts you in the thick of the excitement unfolding. However, not long enough and a little jarring once we get the answers we crave. I almost wish I had about 10 more minutes in the third act.

Aberrance was uniquely entertaining, brilliantly bizarre, and beautifully creative. There was a chase scene in particular that I have had playing on repeat in my head. It was almost magical, taut with tension, and heart-pounding. Perhaps not enough horror for my cold, dead heart. However, it’s more than enough of a great thriller that I will watch it again when available for a wider audience.

// Looking for more foreign genre film? Check out this review!