Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Jessica Kiang
    May 25, 2013
    91
    With pitch-perfect performances across the board, and boasting crisp photography and editing, the film never ceases to twist, turn and surprise, taking wicked joy in constantly switching us back on ourselves and our expectations of the characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Jun 5, 2014
    90
    That Borgman restrains itself from turning into a full-scale horror movie makes it all the more unsettling, although it has its bumpy moments.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jun 3, 2014
    90
    Van Warmerdam keeps such a calm, firm hold on the material that he practically hypnotizes you into following along to the end. The craftsmanship is precise; the result is enigmatic.
  4. Reviewed by: Josh Kupecki
    Jun 11, 2014
    89
    Coyness aside, Borgman is a supremely controlled and darkly nuanced fable that veers away from your expectations every time you think you have it figured out.
  5. Reviewed by: Tirdad Derakhshani
    Jun 13, 2014
    88
    A remarkable, thoroughly disturbing creepshow that burrows deep under your skin and refuses to let go.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 25, 2013
    83
    With its palatial setting, Borgman shows how money can buy luxury, but it can't salvage the corruption that comes from within.
  7. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Oct 22, 2013
    80
    Borgman‘s crafty, trickster-ish screenplay, always two steps ahead of you, keeps you rooting for clues, enough to put your ethics on temporary hold.
  8. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Jun 6, 2014
    75
    Borgman can sometimes frustrate but it is an accomplished piece of work, driven by a uniquely malevolent tonal balance and two fantastic central performances. It sometimes simmers when I wish it would boil over but damn if it isn’t fascinating to watch the water bubble.
  9. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jun 4, 2014
    75
    A sickening horror parable disguised as a comedy of mores, the Netherlands’ Borgman is a rarity: a genuinely shocking, upsetting movie.
  10. 75
    Borgman is a chilling, cryptic film that commands your attention even as its writer-director devotes much of his attention to keeping you from figuring it out.
  11. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Jun 19, 2014
    70
    For all its emotional roller-coastering and wild intrigue, the film's purpose — as well as its title character — feels more symbolic than specific. Still, this well-shot and -designed picture is a mostly compelling, intrepid ride.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jun 9, 2014
    70
    If you can tolerate watching it once, it will burrow into your brain and never get out again; your only recourse will be dragging your friends into the nightmare and seeing it again.
  13. 70
    Van Warmerdam has a way with images that are both playful and horrific, and you may find yourself chuckling at Borgman as much as you recoil at it. It’s destined for cult status.
  14. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    May 26, 2013
    70
    A quirky study of the unrelenting grip of evil, the film is beautifully made, though stronger in its intriguing setup than its muddy resolution.
  15. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    May 25, 2013
    70
    A sly, insidious and intermittently hilarious domestic thriller.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Jun 5, 2014
    67
    Van Warmerdam keeps things engrossingly ominous throughout, and Bijvoet has a lot of fun with his passive-aggressive creepazoid, but Borgman is both too self-consciously odd and too bluntly punitive to draw real blood.
  17. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jun 3, 2014
    60
    There isn’t a bad scene in Borgman... But van Warmerdam just keeps on teasing and teasing, until the creeping suspicion sets in that teasing is all the film is going to do.
  18. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    May 25, 2013
    60
    Beyond the shocks and games, there's not a great deal to take away in the form of meaty ideas or lingering themes, and its catchy premise doesn't really deliver in the end.
  19. Reviewed by: Catherine Shoard
    May 25, 2013
    60
    There's the frustrating sense of ideas bubbling too low beneath the surface, of mordant jokes serving as an end rather than a means.
  20. Reviewed by: Clayton Dillard
    Jun 3, 2014
    38
    An art-house con destined to make viewers who've ever used the term "mindfuck" as praise rack their brains trying to come up with alternate readings for a film that invites many but convincingly offers none.
  21. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    Jul 17, 2014
    25
    Is Borgman a fable? A fairy tale? A parable? An allegory? A burlesque of Western bourgeois life in the 21st century? One thing Dutch writer-director Alex van Warmerdam’s film isn’t is a black comedy, even if that’s what it’s meant to be. The movie’s black, all right, but a comedy has to be funny.
  22. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jun 19, 2014
    25
    The Dutch thriller Borgman gets credit for being original, but not for being original in a compelling way.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jun 8, 2014
    5
    I will have to side with Slant Magazines unfavorable review of this one. While Borgman commits to its theme of not explaining itself wholeheartedly, it falls short of being a genuinely intelligent thriller and comes away looking pretentious. Thus it falls to critics to justify the absurd with their high brows and references to religious symbolism. In fact i have found that some reviewers interpretation far more interesting than the film itself. Which i guess makes it worth seeing if you want to appear clever other film critics. Full Review »
  2. Aug 25, 2014
    4
    It does not offer much, just some surprises and a few memorable scenes. It seems at first like a great indie/foreign film, but then ultimately is an idea that crashes. Borgman is like a rocket that soars and immediatley bashes into a plane. Full Review »
  3. Jul 24, 2014
    3
    A quick summary of how the movie starts, which will be later needed: Borgman is a movie about Camiel Borgman, whom one can deduce he's a devil on account of him being chased by gun-toting clergy, who knocks on the door of a wealthy family, asking them to take a bath. The husband beats him senseless, but the wife takes pity and tends to him.

    I've seen this film with some friends at an outdoor cinema of sorts, and before it started, one of my them said to me: "Judging from the premise, this is one of those films which can be either really bad, or really good; there won't be any middle-ground." In the end, he turned out to like it, but I thought it was somewhere in the middle, in spite of his portents.

    It's shallow, it's soulless, it's devoid of any significant theme. I've figured it was about some devils taking over a family, but it only scratched the surface in this regard. It could have, for example, presented the inner turmoil of the family as it was slowly being torn apart for reasons unknown, or it could have gone into greater detail about the devils' modus operandi, having the audience know the villains and seed a sense of futility at any possible attempts to thwart them. As it stands, it's just Satan doing stuff, and try as I might, I couldn't for the life of me find anything notable about it! Congratulations, Alex van Warmerdam, for being among the creatively bankrupt people who have dulled Satan down so much even making him a tax accountant would be more interesting!

    There is also a scene which I can point to and call the first red flag: when the wife sees Camiel leaving and asks him to stay. Other than Camiel saying stupid things like 'I wanna play', this scene was heavily resembling an awful American horror film. Why didn't she just let him leave? Some might say that it's Camiel's demonic influence on her, but I see that as hiding behind your pinky. This was a moment when a character was being stupid because it was needed of her in order to advance the plot. It's has never been a good sign, and it doesn't matter how much personal interpretation you put in. It's just lazy on the writer's part!

    My friend told me I didn't like it because I'm used to American films where I can turn my brain off, but Borgman is actually so devoid of substance you can only enjoy it if you turn your brain off! Sorry, friend!
    Full Review »