Critics have described the Austrian thriller Michael as "unnerving" and "alarming," but these adjectives fail to properly capture the intense dread that lingers after watching the film's haunting trailer. Viewable below, it is disturbing on a level that may surprise you, considering there's no violence, gore or sex revealed. Instead, what's offered is a terrifying window into evil accompanied by a sickeningly jarring soundtrack from a broken jack-in-the-box.



Michael centers on the secret life of a seemingly shy insurance salesman. Unbeknownst to the world outside his small soundproofed home, Michael (Michael Fuith) has a 10-year-old boy named Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger) trapped in his basement. This troubling feature exposes the five-month span the pair spends together.

If you've watched as much Investigation Discovery as I have, you knew with a sickening certainty where this trailer was headed as soon as you spotted the soundproofed door. Michael's writer-director Markus Schleinzer admits his inspiration for the troubling tale sprang from the shocking true story of an Austrian man who kept his own daughter locked away in his basement, where he raped her for more than 24 years, eventually fathering three children, who he also locked away. This perturbing narrative marks the directorial debut of Schleinzer, a casting director who has helped cull the talent for such acclaimed and unnerving features as The White Ribbon, The Piano Teacher, and The Counterfeiters.

Michael has already drawn notice abroad at such illustrious venues as the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. And now Strand Releasing will bring this haunting drama to theaters Stateside on February 15th.

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