Steeped in religion yet shot through with moral ambiguity, this disturbing psychological thriller breathes new life into the moribund serial killer movie. Jailed for killing more than a dozen young boys and using their blood to daub apocalyptic paintings, Gabriel Engel (André Hennicke) will speak only to country bumpkin cop Michael Martens (Wotan Wilke Möhring). Engel claims to have witnessed the seemingly unrelated murder of a young girl from Martens’ home village, an unsolved case that has haunted the honest, dogged policeman for years. Fed with cryptic clues and unhinged by Engel’s mind games, Martens soon loses his moral bearings and starts to unravel. Although a tad too long and plodding, Christian Alvart’s promising debut film succeeds on several levels: as an evocation of a rural community torn apart by a brutal murder; as an unflinching analysis of Engel’s twisted moral logic; and as a portrait of a God-fearing cop shaken to the core by the murderer’s terrifying blankness. The surprising, transcendent ending may flummox some, but it grows organically out of the film’s ethical and religious concerns.