'The Zone of Interest' Trailer Redefines Silent Horror

Christian Friedel as Rudolf Höss smokes a cigar in 'The Zone of Interest'

Christian Friedel as Rudolf Höss in 'The Zone of Interest'


It's been a decade since director Jonathan Glazer's last film, Under the Skin, a critical darling starring Scarlet Johansson but a box office flop despite being a science fiction horror film. Glazer disappeared for a couple of years after that, resurfacing in the mid to late 2010s, collaborating with the Auschwitz Museum to access their archives for his next potential film. In 2019, he confirmed that film would be based on the Martin Amis novel, The Zone of Interest, a fictionalized novel based on Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss. 

However, Glazer's adaptation of Amis' novel has turned out to be a loose one, dropping much of the fictionalized story and replacing it with the commandant's actual life. Using testimonies from survivors housed in the museum from camp survivors and household employees, he reconstructed daily life in the Höss upper-middle-class household, which stood mere feet from the walls of Auschwitz. He dropped Amis' false names to emphasize that this was a real family that lived this oblivious life yards from mass murder. And with the museum's permission, he filmed most of the film's principal photography in and around the actual camp areas in the summer of 2021.

The result has been a film that critics are hailing as a look at the holocaust in a way that has never been done before. Whether or not the movie is a box office success — and it seems likely not, considering the current political climate — it is being hailed as a triumph. The trailer certainly suggests watching it will be a different sort of horror movie.

The synopsis is brief and rather blunt:

The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.

The Zone of Interest stars German actors Christian Friedel (Babylon Berlin) as Rudolf Höss and Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall) as his wife, Hedwig. Johann Karthaus (SOKO Hamburg), Medusa Knopf (Hunt for the Bosses), and newcomers Luis Noah Witte, Nele Ahrensmeier, and Lilli Falk play their children Claus, Elfryda, Hans, Inge-Brigitt, and Heideraud.

Glazer wrote and directed the film with James Wilson and Ewa Puszczyńska producing and Reno Antoniades, Len Blavatnik, Danny Cohen, Tessa Ross, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek, and David Kimbangi executive producing. Amis passed away shortly after it was finished, just after its debut at Cannes in 2023. 

The Zone of Interest was initially scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on Friday, December 8, but has now been pushed back a week and will now debut in limited release on Friday, December 15, 2023. A24 will not be releasing the film in the U.K. until February 2024, so any chance of it coming to streaming probably won't be until much closer to the Academy Awards in mid-March, when it will stream exclusively on Max.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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