It’s not Horror, it’s Haneke.™
I dare you to watch this film without looking away once. I dare you to watch almost any Haneke film without looking away. They’re very often confrontational and require work on the viewer’s part to decode. I’ve finished Haneke films with other people where nobody really agreed on what we all just watched (The White Ribbon (2009), which is incredible).
The Piano Teacher isn’t quite so oblique but it’s definitely a challenging watch. Isabelle Huppert’s performance is one to be studied. In fact, there are several actors that have referenced this performance as inspiration for their own award-winning performances. I do wonder, though, with an actor of this calibre, how do you say, “Um, Mrs. Huppert, in this scene I’m gonna need you to masturbate feverishly while huffing a stranger’s discarded sperm-soaked tissue.” I’m just glad we have someone like Haneke to ask the tough questions.