URBAN EXPLORER (2011) Review

Directed by:Andy Fetscher
Starring: Nathalie Kelley, Nick Eversman, Klaus Stiglmeier

Urban Exploration seems to me like the perfect subject for a horror film. The whole point of it is to venture into dark, isolated, out of the way places where few people ever go. I'm actually a little surprised that I've never seen a horror film using this theme until now. Taking this subject ensures some perfect horror ingredients, darkness, claustrophobia, disorientation and the unknown. But is that enough to create a good, solid horror movie?

Denis (Eversman) and his girlfriend Lucia (Kelley) have organized a little subterranean tour of Berlin's mysterious underground. They meet up with another two explorers Marie and Juna and their German guide Kris who leads them through a nightclub and then deep down underground. Their destination is an old walled-off Nazi bunker, and the trip should take them about two hours there and another two hours back. Simple right? However the trip is anything but uneventful and they soon find themselves fighting for their lives as a subterranean psychopath stalks them relentlessly. Will they ever see daylight again?

The movie starts off rather slowly, the characters all meeting each other at a designated spot before being led underground by their guide. When they finally find themselves deep down in the darkness Kris leads them on, pointing out features as they go. Although the going is rather slow, this gives the film a great chance to set the mood and show off some great shots of the surroundings. The underground location is actually one of my favorite parts of the movie. The low light, torch beams, rubbish strewn everywhere, water dripping down long tunnels all come together to create a somehow beautiful experience but at the same time you also have a feeling of impending doom. I will admit however that some of these huge caverns look like they might just be factories or warehouses filmed late at night, they just seem a little too big and intricate and they seem to vary quite a bit.

So visually the film is excellent, but what about the rest? Well I thought the characters were quite well written and I think that it was a smart move to make them (apart from Denis and Lucia) people who have all just met for the first time. It's a good way to make sure that relationships don't get in the way too much. Surprisingly for the most part they don't make too many stupid decisions either, although the movie does have it's fair share such as Marie deciding to point her camera right at Kris's face and take a flash photo while he is trying to navigate a narrow beam across a dangerously deep shaft. 
I thought the killer was really well written and cast too and he actually reminded me a lot of the Aussie madman Mick Taylor from WOLF CREEK. In fact the whole movie (apart from the setting) was reminiscent of that film. Not that that's a bad thing.
I should also mention the effects too, which seemed to be all practical and by the end there is quite a bit of gore and blood without going over the top.

Storywise it's pretty simple and there aren't a whole lot of needless subplots to get in the way. The pacing was a bit inconsistent in areas though, and this 90 minute movie seemed to me a lot longer because of it. I also had a bit of a problem with the ending. There was a point where I thought it could have ended, but it didn't. It dragged on for a little longer and I really thought the last few scenes could have been left out. Also there were a few scenes which seemed a little unbelievable or illogical. But apart from those few problems I actually enjoyed URBAN EXPLORER and I recommend it to anybody who hasn't yet seen it.


  1. Yeah, the first half is a bit slow, but IMO everything after the first half is simply amazing, especially because of that ex-border guard, one of the most impressive villains I've seen in a long time.
    Great write-up for a kick-ass movie! :)

    1. Thanks. Yeah I really liked him as a character. I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but it ended up being pretty damn good. In fact I just checked some of the other movies which I gave 3 stars and decided to give this one an extra half star because it was a bit better than them.