Francis, a young man, recalls in his memory the horrible experiences he and his fiancée Jane recently went through. Francis and his friend Alan visit The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, an exhibit where the mysterious doctor shows the somnambulist Cesare, and awakens him for some moments from his death-like sleep.
This is a seriously creepy affair that follows the story of the young "Franzis" (Friedrich Feher) who goes to a fairground one night with his friend "Alan" (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski). They happen upon the performance of the coffin-dwelling somnambulist prophesier "Cesare" (Conrad Veidt) and his spooky master "Dr. Caligari" (Werner Krauss). "Casare" - who is all but skeletal in appearance, portends looming disaster for "Alan", and when he is found murdered next morning suspicions turn to this enigmatic pair- even though there is no real "evidence" at all! Things take an even darker twist when the anaemic seer predicts that "Jane" (Lil Dagover), a gentle creature admired by both the deceased and his surviving friend, is not long for this mortal coil either... It falls to "Franzis" to solve the mystery and save his love from... The story is bleak at times, the settings stark and angular, frequently almost abstract in appearance. Veidt is outstanding, as if he were in a nightmare in an Escher drawing, or some other such challenging structure for our minds to comprehend; and Krauss, too, with his maniacal eyes and almost orchestra leading hand gestures is wonderful too. The photography has a tendency to draw out the shots a little too much, but again - they help create a genuine sense of scariness. Nothing gory, or bloody - just eerie, and enormously effective. Unlike so many films that have attained critical acclaim, or cult status, this is actually a really good story with strong acting talent and wonderfully vivid visuals from Robert Wiene (and Willy Hameister) that really is amongst the best of it's - or any other - genre..
This is the worst movie I've ever watched 15 minutes of. Lars von Trier once said he knew at the latest fifteen minutes into a movie whether it was worth continuing, and I took that advice to heart, so here we are. Okay. Seriously. SERIOUSLY? Yes, 102 years ago, "cinema" was in its early years. Silent movies, someone on a piano going plonkty plonk while people were drinking moonshine, smoking plutonium and coughing up pneumonia. Great. How fantastically interesting in a historical perspective. (Seriously, though, it is.) But hello, and welcome to reality in the now. This is absolute garbage. The only way this is useful in any way is as a source for memes. I'd like to see this with a death metal soundtrack. Or in MST3K form. Anything. Or simply as something displayed on the wall at a rave, for kitsch. This is TERRIBLE. Anyone who rates this more than 1 stars is either a movie historian (thumbs up, dudes, I do appreciate you work, whatever it is, maybe not actually) or a pretentious dumbbell, who has never enjoyed a movie in his or her life for fear of being wrong about enjoying it. Christ on a mongoloid horse. Garbage.