A gruesome and action packed crime-thriller, Die Ontwaking explores the psyche and motivations of a serial killer. Abel (Gys de Villiers), the owner of a small gallery specialising in African masks and art, is also curating a collection of tattoos belonging to beautiful female victims who will fit his Cosmic Journal theme.
Die Ontwaking is based on the first book of the “Abel” trilogy, “Abel se Ontwaking” (translated into English as “The Skin Collector”), by well-known crime writer Chris Karsten. Abel’s deranged mind is an imaginary composite of the minds of some of the most notorious fictional serial killers, including Norman Bates, Sweeney Todd, Dexter, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger and, Jame Gumb, the serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs, who stalks females and skins them in an attempt to create a female skin suit. The primary inspiration for Abel, however, comes from real-life American murderer and body snatcher Ed Gein. Gein exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin.
In the film, Ella Nesser (Juanita de Villiers) is the attractive, but inexperienced murder detective in charge of the case. Her main task is to track down the serial killer who has been preying on the city’s young women. While trying to prove herself to her more senior colleagues (Paul Eilers, Gerard Rudolf), she is also struggling with her break up with her boyfriend (Armand Aucamp).
Abel is smart and the young detective struggles to make headway with the case. As more victims are found, an easy culprit emerges – a well to do businessman with a link to them all (Morne Visser), distracting her from the real killer who is continuing his work.
For his upcoming fiftieth birthday, Abel has a special gift in mind for himself – a new face: that of a beautiful young woman, perhaps that of a young female detective.
The film is a collaboration between The Showroom Theatre, Advantage Entertainment and Enigma Pictures.
Die Ontwaking premiered at Silwerskermfees 2014. The film went on to win the Best Feature Film Award at the 2015 Indie Karoo Film Festival.