Directed by: Olaf Ittenbach
Written by: Olaf Ittenbach, Thomas Reitmair
Stars: Anika Julien, Natacza Boon, Daryl Jackson... read more

Year: 2003
Genrer: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Run time: 1h 26min
My rating: 4 out of 5

After the bottomless scratch of "Legion of the Dead" who felt too heavy for Olaf Ittenbach to perform at a cool standard, he thankfully returned to his classic performance with a protruding delicate and original zombie movie named Garden of Love (or the US title; The Haunting of Rebecca Verlaine). Once at home, he never ceases to amaze and always offers graceful horror with great glimpses of humor and lots of blood. The Garden of Love is one of my favorite of Ittenbach, and this is a zombie movie in addition to the usual in the zombie world.

Christmas has come around the corner and the Verlaine family has a lot to look forward to. But their luck turns when they are suddenly slaughtered in Bleak House. Young Rebecca Verlaine (Anika Julien) is the only survivor and flies with serious injuries. Two years later, she wakes up from her coma and the traumatic experiences have led her to lose memory. Rebecca's adoptive parents ignores the truth and assume that she has suffered a car accident. Twelve years passes and Rebecca (Natacza Boon) now lives a normal life with his boyfriend, Dr. David Riven (Daryl Jackson). That's when she's getting plagued by visions as someone tries to contact her and this "someone" turns out to be ... who?

Make-up effects are essentially what Ittenbach is most famous for and it is something that you will add extra attention to in the notes of this movie. Make-up, extravasation, intestines and other body parts are well organized and very professionally molded. The environment is perfect for its plot and you get a little sense of sadness in it all. Anxiety escalates further into the movie you take, and in the last twenty minutes of the movie you will completely blow away from the armchair. Because once you sit and cheer on the evil, then it's a really wonderful movie experience.

I suppose it's Thomas Reitmair's merit that the movie has an unusually good story, because I don't think Ittenbach is responsible for that all by himself. This is the first script that Ittenbach has had the help of another author, and that's why it succeeds in performing well. Very positive so to speak.

I'm not gonna break this movie, but I give you the Garden of Love as an excellent movie tip, because I have so far rated it as one of Olaf's best movies in my opinion. It's dramatic, packed with beautiful gore sequences and very dark humor. It reminds me that Ittenbach is not going to work on a big budget and that he actually belongs in Germany, at his home ground. That is where we like him most. Right?


Produced by: Yazid Benfeghoul, Sören Bode, Ricky Goldberg, Leo Helfer, Olaf Ittenbach
Cinematography by: Holger Fleig
Editing by: Eckart Zerzawy
Special Effects by: Olaf Ittenbach, Tommy Opatz
Music by: Märgen Buhl, Thomas Koppelt, Martin Lutz, Thomas Reitmair, A.G. Striedl
Country: Germany
Language: English
Color: Color

Distributor: Njuta Films Entertainment