Woman of the Dead (Totenfrau), why isn’t this labeled horror?

Anna Maria Mühe in Woman of the Dead

Woman of the Dead (Totenfrau) is a German language series filmed in the Alps of Austria. It’s labeled as crime and mystery, but it’s as bloody and gory as any horror series I’ve ever seen. There is a mystery involved, because Brunhilde Blum (Anna Maria Mühe) spends all 6 episodes searching for the hit and run driver who killed her husband.

Woman of the Dead (Totenfrau) begins when Blum becomes suspicious of her husband Mark, a cop. He’s out all night. She catches him using a new phone. They live on a winding road on a mountain. They have two kids and his father (a former cop) lives with them.

A refugee Mark previously helped, Reza (Yousef ‘Joe’ Sweid), lives with the family and is an assistant for Blum.

Anna Maria Mühe in Woman of the Dead
Blum at work on a dead body

Blum’s an undertaker. The title reflects her handling of dead people, but there are many other dead people in this story. There are so many dead people, some of them are introduced in flashbacks.

One morning Mark leaves home on his motorcycle and is run down by a black car right outside their driveway. The police investigation, lead by family friend Massimo (Felix Klare), doesn’t yield anything. Blum takes on a revenge/vengeance crusade of her own.

Blum finds a woman hiding in a tiny cabin based on clues in Mark’s new phone. She is Dunja (Romina Küper), a frightened woman Mark was helping escape from a terrible situation. She takes Dunja home.

Romina Küper in Woman of the Dead
Dunja draws masked figures

Dunja turns out to have been in the hands of a group of men who secretly import sex slaves to torture and kill them. Dunja can’t identify them because they wore masks.

Blum goes after one suspect after another in her search for the hit and run driver. Most of the people she suspects are part of the underground murder club. They definitely don’t want her to learn what they’re doing or to become public knowledge. So her life is in danger too.

There are no innocents in this series. It turns out just about everyone is capable of murder. You’re rooting for Blum because she loves her kids and wants justice for Mark, but she’s no angel herself.

The plot is full of twists. It’s also contrived and unlikely. There’s one horrific scene after another. The person who murdered Mark was obvious to me long before Blum figured it out. I kept wanting the series to be better, but it never was. The thing the series did well was maintain the tension and suspense as Blum fell deeper and deeper into trouble in her revenge quest.

If you watch this Netflix series, I’d love to hear your opinions about it. What did you think?

7 thoughts on “Woman of the Dead (Totenfrau), why isn’t this labeled horror?”

  1. 000 000 000 000 000 000 000
    000 000 000 000 000 000 000

    The many details you presented about the story make it sounds VERY interesting…

    Not exactly the happiest of stories though…

    I haven’t decided what I’ll do about this series, but I will say this:

    Thanks, for your information 🙂



    around 2338 in HK.

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  2. “The plot is full of twists. It’s also contrived and unlikely…”

    The way you wrote about the plot, I find that combination of descriptions quite humorous 🙂

  3. Good series. Violent, but not a horror one. Intense till the end and very well filmed. Excellent acting by Mühe.

  4. Victoria Olsen

    A little dark with evil in them hills- is one thing, but this hell high on earth is another. The horrors of the torture and murder club are not even very well hidden. Ski villages and the residence townships around them -off the main alps areas- are not heavily populated.

    So really, pretty much everyone in the town is a sadistic zombie underneath a thin veil. The severe blonde is 100% cold as ice -not gracious at all -no way would anyone go into her venues. They manage to make this stunning setting a grim reaper character with no hope or good anywhere in the story. Playing characters like this is not good for the soul.

    And what happens to the one nice guy with a heart? He is wiped out in the first scene. Sickos who dreamt this up, wrote it, funded it or even allowed this to be made -need to be monitored for their own complicity in similar non-fiction ventures. With all the war, killing, corruption, extortion and inhumanity in the world – overcoming day to day obstacles is enough.

    There is no need for imagined evils in the story lines. Stories of redemption and justice do not need dead bodies being carved up -body parts everywhere -never mind the macabre backstory of locking an adoptee in a coffin. Its no wonder the character did not burn the place down then.

    The real community should have had story preview rights to make sure it would be a celebration of their town to bring viewers in. Anyone who watches -even part of this story will give this- tip top mountain locale -a very wide berth no matter how gorgeous this border area of Austria is. The scenic beauty itself only becomes more and more menacing as the story progresses.

    It just goes from one death and funeral to the next. Since no one else lives there- obviously they are all involved on one level or another. No one smiles or laughs – no one actually skis and what about the pseudo-Christian religious orders in so many northern areas used in so many stories? I agree with the daughter in rebelling on that front. Makes the Catholics look mild mannered.

    Stereotyping Eastern European girls as imports for slavery and sex is a worn out storyline in European film and tv industry. I’m pretty sure all the parents of the young girls east of the old iron curtain have gotten the memo. Offers to model or or staff resorts under the table without papers are bogus red flag tickets to exploitation and worse.

    If not -this movie and all others using this premise -need their profits to be used to carpet every village and town with air dropped paper confetti notices about this vile practice. It should be part of the school curriculum so every family and young girl grows up knowing to never ever give in to these solicitations.

    Also, this is the 3rd high alps setting of mystery series-others France, Switzerland- where there is a mental institution at the top of the mountain looming disharmony over the community as random escapees meander down. Even worse sometimes local residents are spirited away to these facilities for other nefarious reasons.

    That part of this storyline is just a random sideline that leads nowhere. I could not watch past her son being lured away with no one noticing or supervising his school exit. Either it is such a small town that is is naturally safe to walk home or leave school on our own or it’s big enough to have regulated school pick up laws standard in all developed nations. No way would a child wander off with the creepiest guy in the world. Either he would actually know everyone in a town that small or there would be procedures – someone to call if the mom is late from her list of known close family or friends for pick up.

    I found this page by putting horror in with the title to see if anyone else found this oh so not redeeming…

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