Dutch director Dick Maas started his career directing the videos for Golden Earring, including “Twilight Zone” and “When the Lady Smiles,” which was controversial as it showed a man about to assault a nun. He moved into feature films, including the comedic Flodder and The Lift. He’s also known for the American version of The Lift, which was called Down, and the absolutely deranged holiday movie Sint.
This film is at the crossroads of giallo and slasher, using the canals of Amsterdam instead of Venice to create a place where the killer can appear at seemingly any time and place to murder at will.
The film starts with a bravura scene of violence, as a prostitute is murdered and then her body, hung above a bridge, literally rains blood on to a boat full of tourists.
What keeps it from being giallo and pushes it toward slasher is the fact that its protagonist is not a stranger in a strange land, but instead Eric Visser, a detective struggling to be a single father while solving cases around Holland’s capital.
And what pushes it even further into slasher territory is the film’s propensity to deliver on the gore, from decapitated heads to bloody kills. The antagonist is so brutal that one of the witnesses refers to him as a monster that came out of the water.
That said, where it does flirt with the giallo are the sheer number of red herrings that this movie throws at you, which makes sense, as Holland’s fishing industry continually lands plenty of them from the nutrient-rich coastal waters of the North Sea.