North American premiere
Selection 2020 On Demand

The Columnist

Directed by Ivo Van Aart


Official selection

2021 Netherlands Film Festival


Ivo Van Aart


Daan Windhorst


Katja Herbers


NL Film & TV bv

Netherlands 2020 84 mins OV Dutch Subtitles : English
Genre Horror

“Why can't we just have different opinions and be nice about it?” asks columnist Femke Boot (WESTWORLD’s Katja Herbers). Oh, Femke! She knows life’s not like that, but to a person with morals, it’s a really difficult thing to comprehend as to why seemingly normal, decent people can be such horrendous monsters once behind a keyboard. It's pretty much everyone, too – her otherwise friendly neighbor (Rein Hofman) is a racist troll, respectable citizens wish her dead, and total strangers say things to her online you'd never say in public. “Never read the comments,” her writer boyfriend (Bram van der Kelen) tells her, but she can't help it. And when her desire to shut her critics up – permanently – becomes too tempting, she can't help that, either. For someone so seemingly nice and decent, Femke Boot has a pretty violent nasty streak. Hell hath no fury like someone insulted on social media.

With a premise so ripe in this modern age that we are, quite frankly, surprised it's taken so long for someone to make it, THE COLUMNIST proves it's definitely been worth the wait. Director Ivo van Aart and writer Daan Windhorst know that this story needs to be handled with both wit and sheer terror, and they've pulled it off beautifully, making a rare socially conscious (and deliciously fun) revenge thriller. Anchoring it perfectly is Herbers, terrific as the writer you didn’t think it would be wrong to piss off, and it’s her trajectory from decent working mom to over-the-edge social-more enforcer that makes THE COLUMNIST such a blast. It's a very entertaining reminder that, no matter how harmless or justified you think your insults are, they can really hurt someone. And that someone can hurt you back. Thank goodness THE COLUMNIST is just a movie. Fow now. – Matthew Kiernan