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The Keep

Here's a little seen thriller from 1983 with a cast you wont believe, a great director and a story that defies description. Is it worth seeing?

Director Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice, Thief) brings his distinct moody, brooding style to the story of an ancient fortress in Romania occupied by the Nazis in WWII.

Ian McKellen is Dr Theodore Cuza, an expert on the history of the castle and its secrets. Jurgen Prochnow is the German officer in charge of the castle, facing scrutiny as the soldiers under him begin dying en masse, murdered by an unseen force.

The SS soon send a brutal general (Gabriel Byrne) to teach the townspeople a lesson. However, it's not the locals that are doing the killing.

As McKellen and Prochnow realize that the Castle Keep was built not to keep something out, but to keep some THING in, the mystery deepens.

It's all VERY 80's, with beautiful photography by Alex Thompson and music by Tangerine Dream.

By the second act, when Scott Glenn arrives as Glaeken, some sort of Grecian Starman dude, you wont be quite sure what his role in the drama is, but I guarantee you there will be no middle ground. You will either be fascinated and under Mann's weird spell, or bored to death.

I enjoyed it in a "Miami Vice" meets "Amityville Horror" meets "Combat" sort of way.

You've certainly not seen a lot of movies like this one. Whether you will ever want to see another one is justifiably up for argument.

Any 80s flick where you can see McKellen aged with makeup to appear like he does as Gandalf and then see him in his late thirties is worth a peek.

I'll give THE KEEP a fog shrouded B- for it's style and it's all star cast giving it their all. Too bad the story clears from your head about as fast as the fog.

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