THE – an experimental horror movie by Dieter Kovacic & Billy Roisz
2015 | Austria | 13min. | DCP | Flat | 5.1 | 24FPS
Premiere: Berlinale Shorts Competition | February 2015

idea, realization, imagery, camera, music: Billy Roisz & Dieter Kovačič
voice: Phil Minton | cello, jinghu, erhu, melodica: noid
sound design: Billy Roisz, Dieter Kovačič, Martin Siewert

THE just got a Special Mention from the Tricky Women 2016 International Jury:

‘This film is completely hypnotic and charged with energy. It transposes the codes of horror cinema in visual and sound expression. The transition of forms and color takes us on a fluid journey. The music and human voices create a strong sense of tension.’
( Julie Roy, NFB Canada)



Clouds cross the sky. A dark rumble. A crow caws. A melody. Omens hang in the air, heralding the unexpected. The work of Billy Roisz and Dieter Kovačič explores the structures and mechanisms of the terror evoked in horror film. They experiment with listening and viewing habits, transforming the screen into a fragile membrane between the viewer and that which is viewed while investigating the space between outer and inner. Surfaces revoke any attempt at correlation; grids are interchanged with stripes and dots, and with the supposedly material. The borders between abstract and concrete are suspended. Gauging space for the sake of orientation is impossible. Sometimes, the chance to understand, to orientate, flares up for a split-second – only to disappear in the next instant. Vertigo.
(Maike Mia Höhne, Berlinale Shorts)


Angst, different than fear, has no “of what,” its object is a void: THE in huge red letters, joined by the screech of a crow against a cloud-covered background. THE what? The Thing, The Ring, The Descent, The Exorcist or simply, The Wedding Planner?

Actually not. THE fails to fill the void, for thirteen minutes, at no point allows the viewer and work to come together, create a bond letting one breathe easier. The void is kept open, consistently, as a place of tension, the non-decidability, the state of development—between the abstract (Roisz’s typical quivering, shivering colored beams) and the concrete (a shutter flashes, birds’ chirping), between granite-like surfaces and fire-red abyss, between cliché-laden children’s tunes and horror films’ authentic drone sounds, floating freely in the dialectic found in Freud’s “uncanny.”

In the second part, the vague fear in the mind becomes a very concrete work of terror on the body. Here, the abstract form becomes a solid, visceral surface, which ripples and bends, shifts, and rips open. The image itself spews forth wafting masses, becomes a shadow mask, which for its part, attempts to shut them away again, begins to pulsate rhythmically, and like a body, breathe and scream. THE is an impressive work about the psychic and haptic power of the abstract experience, a reduction—and even more—a feeding back of brashly displayed bodily wounds and less subtle cheap showmanship of torture porn images into the audiovisual medial core: “The Medium is the Massage.”
(Alejandro Bachmann)
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

Review Karlovy Vary Fimfestival 2015


In many horror film titles, the English article “the” specifies the origin of
the terror. Not in this case, of course. In this codirected work by two
established experimenters, sounds and abstractions play first fiddle, in
both cases originating from the character of the horror genre, whose
structure and typical style elements it conspicuously copies.
Viewer discomfort arises from an abstract source, even still the film has
an invasive effect, provoking unease in the audience. And when it’s all
over, only cold sweat and a pounding heart remain – just like after
watching any of the genre’s most successful offerings.
(Viktor Palák, KVIFF)


THE – excerpt on Vimeo.


02/2015 Berlinale / Shorts Competition / Berlin / DE

03/2015 Diagonale / Innovative Cinema / Graz /AT

04/2015 Echoraum / Wien / AT

05/2015 Mumok / Working on Abstraction / Wien /AT

05/2015 Vienna Independent Shorts / Nightmares / Wien /AT


07/2015 Karlovary International Filmfestival / CZ

09/2015 Burapha University / Faculty of Fine Arts /Burapha / TH

10/2015 Curtocircuito / Santiago de Compostella /ES

10/2015 Festival Nouveau Cinema / Montreal /CA

11/2015 Cork Film Festival / Cork / IRE

11/2015 Kasseler Dokfest / Kassel / DE

01/2016 College of Fine Arts / Ladkrabang / TH

01/2016 Fine Arts Faculty University of Chiangmai / TH

02/2016 School of Fine & Applied Arts / Bangkok / TH

03/2016 Tricky Women Festival / Wien / AT

04/2016 Go Short / Int. Short Film Festival / Nijmegen / NL