How in the world did I ever miss seeing this film? The Keep is truly an original film which can hardly be said of any movie in any era. The basic bones of the story involve Nazis who are behaving badly and are holed up in a “keep” which is the central tower of a castle/fortress that serves as a last refuge. Things get interesting when they unleash an ancient demon after which the film asks the eternal question “What is true evil? What face does it wear?”
The Keep benefits from an excellent director, Michael Mann, who is well known for producing Miami Vice as well as visually stunning films such as The Last of the Mohicans. The Keep has a definite visual style to it and uses light and fog in some very creative ways. The visuals are greatly aided by a sparse, ethereal music score with textured synthesizers and unusual choral elements from Tangerine Dream.
Then there’s the cast….wow. The one and only Ian McKellen [X-Men, Lord of the Rings] plays a scholar who is trying to figure out what is happening in The Keep. He gives his usual magnetic performance. McKellen is then surrounded by a great group of character actors with long resumes such as Scott Glenn [Silence of the Lambs, The Bourne Trilogy], Robert Prosky [Hill Street Blues, Dead Man Walking] and German actor Jurgen Prochnow. Everyone works so well together in this film. It is wonderful to watch.
What more needs to be said? SEE THIS MOVIE. If you like supernatural films that are on the philosophical side, then The Keep is your kind of movie. It may well be one of the most underrated horror films of the 1980’s.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.