From the director of underrated horror films The Lift and Amsterdamned comes the first of a film trilogy about the dysfunctional family from hell who move into a rich neighborhood.
The Flodder family have been living on a toxic waste dump for many years. The City Council has learned of this and have attempted to find another place for this crazy family to live. The only option available at this rate is a villa in the rich neighborhood of Zonnedael. The Flodders consist of Ma, the very reckless trio of Johnny and his brother and sister, both named Kees; young ones Toet and Henkie; and finally, Grandpa Flodder.
From the second they arrive, they are met with resistance by the nouveau riche members of the community. While they are told by their trusted caretaker Sjakie to behave, the family can’t help but act as if they are just themselves. Ma Flodder gets herself taking on three women in a food truck. However, when Johnny finds himself in love with very bored housewife Yolanda Kruisman, things go from bad to worse, especially when Yolanda’s husband, a military man, seeks revenge on the family for the sake of not only himself, but for the community as well.
Outside of his work as one of the underrated masters of horror in his native Netherlands, Dick Maas is perhaps best known for this 80’s comedy, which has quite a meshing of comic genres but altogether gels well as a satire on the world of society and how one lower-class family affects a predominantly wealthy area. One may think of this as The Beverly Hillbillies: Dutch Edition, but it is anything but that with the mere fact that this family were practically forced to move due to their realization of living on a toxic waste dump.
The cast couldn’t be any more fun to watch in this film. Nelly Frijda takes charge as the cigar-smoking matriarch who spends her time either scouring neighbors’ garbage or making Dutch moonshine in her basement. Maas’ favorite actor to work with, Huub Stapel, sports a bouffant like hairstyle to play the role of eldest son Johnny, who is just a troublemaker as his younger siblings both names Kees (a running joke in the film as there are two supporting characters in the film with the name Kees as well). The brother Kees, played by Rene van’t Hof, is a schemer while sister Kees, played by actress-singer Tatjana Simic, shows her promiscuity to a tee at times. Lou Landre provides some hilarious comic relief as the caretaker Sjakie who tries to help the family even if he doesn’t approve of their actions.
The nouveau riche crowd, give or take one character, are quite a pain to watch in terms of their behavior. However, the anti-bourgeois character truly is Apollonia van Ravenstein’s Yolanda, who is truly getting bored and tiresome with her husband’s attention towards his military action rather than some “action” and thus, turns to Johnny and eventually they fall for each other, which triggers two things: an attempt to bring the neighborhood together to a civil manner and a revenge-seeking colonel who goes to great lengths to ease his own pain against the Flodder family.
A nice highlight of the film are some stunts in the forms of vehicular stunts. There’s a nice suburban car chase between the three elder Flodder kids and a group of preppie tennis players that ends in the latter crashing their car in the backyard pool of a couple played by Simon van Collum and Inge Beekman. Interesting note is that Maas brought the couple back to get splashed again during the famous boat chase scene in Amsterdamned. The Ma Flodder food truck fight is another great use of stunts used in the film when the food truck makes it way to the freeway when the driver is knocked out in the process.
Flodder is a very funny satirical look at the differences between classes and society meshed with the typical 80’s teen comedies of yore. The cast is a fun ensemble led by Nelly Frijda and Huub Stapel and it is clear why this would spawn two film sequels and a television series. The Beverly Hillbillies these people are not.
WFG RATING: A-
A Concorde Film/First Floor Features production. Director: Dick Maas. Producers: Laurens Geels and Dick Maas. Writer: Dick Maas. Cinematography: Marc Felperlaan. Editing: Hans van Dongen.
Cast: Nelly Frijda, Huub Stapel, Rene van’t Hof, Tatjana Simic, Lou Landre, Nani Lehnhausen, Horace Cohen, Jan Willem Hees, Apollonia van Ravenstein, Herbert Flack, Bert Andre, Lettie Oosthoek, Liz Snoyink.