Cuckoo 2024

Directed by Tilman Singer Nocturnal

Equal parts picturesque, creepy and batshit crazy, with a stunning performance from Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer in her first feature lead role, this riotous horror flick proves to be raucously entertaining and refreshingly unpredictable.

Aug 10

The Civic

Aug 13

Hollywood Avondale

Germany In English, French and German with English subtitles
102 minutes Colour / DCP
Violence, offensive language & horror

Director, Screenplay


Markus Halberschmidt, Josh Rosenbaum, Maria Tsigka, Ken Kao, Thor Bradwell


Paul Faltz


Terel Gibson, Philipp Thomas 

Production Designer

Dario Mendez Acosta

Costume Designer

Frauke Firl


Simon Waskow


Hunter Schafer, Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick, Marton Csókás, Jan Bluthard


Berlin, SXSW, Sydney 2024


After her mother’s death, 17-year-old Gretchen has no choice but to go with her father, stepmother and half-sister to alpine Germany, where her architect father plans to partner with a friend on a new resort. By all appearances, the family dynamics are what you’d expect – sullen teen hates her “new” family and the circumstances that led her here. It doesn’t help that her father and his wife treat her like a cuckoo in their perfect nest. As curiouser and curiouser things start to happen around her, Gretchen looks for answers and German director Tilman Singer masterfully builds suspense as deeper truths are slowly revealed.

Gretchen is particularly suspicious of Herr König, her father’s friend and the director of the resort she’s given a job at. And with good reason – played to Silence of the Lambs’ Hannibal Lecter-esque perfection with just touch of camp by Dan Stevens, König makes very little effort to hide his oddities, all the while insisting that there’s nothing strange going on. Incoherent resort guests stumbling into the lobby and vomiting on the floor? Perfectly normal! A terrifying woman with an inhuman, bloodcurdling scream chasing you in the middle of the night? Oh, you’re just the victim of a prank. While not an outright horror-comedy, moments of comic relief save the film from going too dark with its disturbing premise, and excellent sound design evokes a genuinely eerie atmosphere, best experienced in the cinema.

With a striking and emotive performance from Hunter Schafer in her first leading role in a feature film, Cuckoo has everything you could ask for in a horror movie – a head-scratcher of a premise, campy humour, Shining-esque scenery, a fantastic soundtrack, just the right amount of gore, and extremely creepy bird-people. — Louise Adams