Domestik (Imagine Film Festival, 2019)

Imagine Film Festival, which runs April 10–20 at EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is loaded with amazing genre film fare from around the world. Among the outstanding slices of cinema offered during the fest’s first few nights this year were two films dealing with different types of domestic horror, and a behind-the-scenes documentary about David Lynch’s still-disturbing Blue Velvet (1986).


Czech Republic chiller Domestique (AKA Domestique; 2018) documents the decay of a family, this time a married couple whose blind ambitions on separate but overlapping goals leads to the realms of body horror. Writer/director Adam Sedlák examines the obsessions that drive would-be professional cyclist Roman (Jiří Konvalinka) and his wife Charlotte (Tereza Hofová), who is equally as single-minded about getting pregnant as Roman is about being promoted from trainee to full-fledged cycling team member. While he goes through ever-more vigorous training and ever-sketchier medical shortcuts, she continues a regimen of hormone therapy. The two battle over dietary differences, and grow colder toward one another as a deadly, cold-war rivalry emerges.

Sedlák makes his limited budget work by giving the proceedings an increasingly uneasy claustrophobic feel, but with no background on Roman and Charlotte, it is hard to feel for either of the characters, especially as they act more and more caustic toward one another. Both actors give believable, solid performances, though. The third act delves into territory that should make most viewers squirm.

Domestik is a chamber drama meets body horror blend, and the result is nerve-wracking and almost suffocating.

  • Joseph Perry, Domestik
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.