16.04. ‐ 21.04.2024


Tilman Singer

17-year-old Gretchen (Hunter Schafer) has to move to a Bavarian Alpine resort with her father, her step-mother, and her young step-sister against her will. The parents have been friends with the manager of the atmospheric-picturesque property for many years and they are supposed to help the real estate to new success with their concept for a refurbishment. While the bored teenager takes on a holiday job at the reception, things soon prove to be much different from what they seem. Gretchen is being followed by a hooded woman on her way home from work at night and eventually ends up in the local hospital where the incidents escalate.

The screenplay, written by Singer, is based on the most famous brood parasite in the animal world, the cuckoo who puts her own eggs into the nests of small songbirds and therefore doesn’t look after them herself. The atmospherically-dense horror thriller was shot in dynamic widescreen format on 35 mm. The sound design: transverse flute tones with shock effects.

More information Lichter FilmfestLichter Filmfest

Direction Tilman Singer
Country Germany, USA
Year 2024
Duration 102 min
Language English, German, French with German subtitles
Production Emily Thomas, Ryan Friscia
Cast Hunter Schafer, Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick, Marton Csókás, Jan Bluthardt u.a.
Camera Paul Faltz
Script Tilman Singer
Editing Terel Gibson, Philipp Thomas
Sound Michael Schlömer
Music Simon Waskow
Sound Design Jeff Pits, Odin Benitez, Jonas Lux, Steffen Pfauth, Torsten Zumhof

Berlinale 2024

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About the director

Director Tilman Singer from Leipzig is one of the rising stars of genre cinema. He studied at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. His graduation film “Luz”, shot on 16mm, celebrated its premiere at the Berlinale in 2018. “Cuckoo” is his first US-production starring Euphoria-star Hunter Schafer. Funded by Hessen Film und Medien, the horror film was shot in an architect’s mansion in Aarbergen among other locations.

Press reviews

“A hope for German directing for international genre cinema!” (Filmstarts)

“…Tilman Singer lets international cinema stars meet horrific creatures from the Alps. Cuckoo revives German genre cinema.” (Zeit)

“A very stylish teen shocker that recommends Germany as a filming location.” (F.A.Z.)

The director about the film

„We enjoy getting scared, because we like to test out how much we can handle. And that gives us joy, that excites us, that amuses us. But of course, the two genres [horror & comedy] are so closely related, since horror films always have something ridiculous about them. I mean that with love.“ Tilman Singer in an interview with Uncut


Future German Cinema