Jakob is in a happy relationship, but one night he starts having nightmares about his girlfriend Linda. These seductive but very dark become more frequent and it's haunting him. Jakob can't live with it any longer, and orders a friend to take her life so that he can get some peace. But it turns out that the nightmare version of Linda is not only part of the dream world.
Alexander Bakshaev's short feature/long short "The Devil of Kreuzberg" takes inspiration from European horror/thrillers of the '60s and '70s. The movie makes it clear already from the opening credits that it's heavily reliant on slow, artistic horror movies, but the surprise here is that most of the movie plays like a crime/thriller. Luckily, it's not trying to be a giallo despite that (though there's inspiration). I say "luckily" because when modern movies attempt it, it usually stinks.
"The Devil of Kreuzberg" is about Jakob who becomes haunted by seductive and bizarre dreams about his girlfriend, Linda. It begins to get to him even when he is awake, and he can't live with it any more. He asks his best friend to help him out - by killing her. There is more to Linda than they can ever imagine, and what they face seems more like the twisted version from his nightmares.
The plot of the movie is quite intriguing. Unfortunately it never got as interesting in the movie as it is on paper, or when you tell someone about it. It's a story that should build a lot on emotions, but it wasn't there. There seemed to be very little weight to it, and no real power in regards to having to kill your girlfriend. It didn't make it seem like a big deal, and when it is finally revealed that Linda is under a curse, it doesn't really matter. It is equally the fault of the writer, as it is the director. The actors are pretty good in their parts, but there is something blocking the movie from developing its plot well.
Besides the lack of impact in the story development, the movie is very well made. The movie successfully brings a classic Euro horror feel without being an obvious homage. The music fits really well and might be the most obvious indicator of its inspirations, but that's absolutely fine. Towards the end we have some great shots that bring to mind the good old gothic horrors of UK and Italy. In this sense I believe that the filmmakers have succeeded in what they wanted to create.
I don't dislike "The Devil of Kreuzberg", but because of how underwhelmed I felt by the story it's a film I'd only recommend to the biggest fans of the movies that inspired it. I think there's a lot to admire in achieving the atmosphere from them, but the movie overall would've needed some more work for it to be truly captivating.